Survey: Fewer Plan to Get Influenza Shot

YONKERS, N.Y., Oct. 15 (UPI) — About 37 percent of U.S. adults say they plan to get the seasonal influenza vaccine this year, down from 45 percent last flu season, a survey indicates.

A nationally representative poll of 1,500 adults from the Consumer Reports National Research Center says one of the top reasons given for avoiding the flu shot this flu season is that people thought last year’s epidemic was overblown.

Tim Uyeki, a medical epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division says although last year’s estimated flu death toll was about half that of an average seasonal flu season from 1976 to 2006, the numbers do not reflect the severity of the pandemic.

“It had a disproportionate impact on younger adults,” Uyeki says in a statement.

About 270,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with H1N1 and 12,470 died, the CDC estimates. In most years about 90 percent of the deaths from seasonal flu are among those 65 and older but 87 percent of the deaths last year were among those age 65 and under.

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. parents say they had their children vaccinated for seasonal flu in 2009, compared to 41 percent in 2008.

However, only 52 percent of healthcare workers and those who work in nursing homes were immunized for seasonal flu last year, and 34 percent for H1N1 — a group most likely to catch the flu and spread it to patients at risk for complications and death, the Consumer Reports survey says.

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