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Past Low Flu Vaccination Rates and Gaps in Flu Policies Contribute to Vaccine Shortages and Other Problems in Preparedness

Past Low Flu Vaccination Rates and Gaps in Flu Policies Contribute to Vaccine
                 Shortages and Other Problems in Preparedness

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2013

Fewer than Half of Americans Vaccinated for Flu Last Season

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  A new review of flu
vaccination trends and policies issued by the Trust for America's Health
(TFAH) found fewer than half of Americans ages 6 months and older were
vaccinated against the flu in the last two flu season (2010-11 and 2011-12).
For the first time during the 2010-11 flu season, CDC recommended that all
Americans ages 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine. The historically
low demand for seasonal flu vaccinations has contributed to limiting the
supply of vaccine manufactured each year.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100204/TFAHLOGO)

"The flu is an annual threat. Some years, like this one, the threat is more
severe than others. The problem is we let our guard down during mild seasons
and then we aren't ready when a harder season hits," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD,
executive director of TFAH. "We need to maintain a steady defense and make
annual flu vaccinations – and the manufacture of sufficient supply -- a much
higher priority every year."

Every year, around 20 percent of Americans get the flu. Between 3,000 and
49,000 Americans die from flu-related illnesses and an average of 226,000 are
hospitalized. The flu leads to economic losses of more than $10 billion in
direct medical expenses and more than $16 billion in lost earnings.

TFAH identified some additional actions that could be taken to fill persistent
gaps in flu preparedness and policy including to:

  oReauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) to
    address and update ongoing challenges in the ability of the public health
    system to respond to health threats and ensure targeted investment in
    flu-related medicines and technologies;
  oEnsure all healthcare personnel receive the annual seasonal flu vaccine
    every year;
  oEducate the public, especially at-risk groups, front-line workers, and
    clinicians, about the seriousness of the flu, need to be vaccinated and
    the safety of the vaccine;
  oContinue investments in expanded domestic flu vaccine manufacturing
    capacity with government guarantees to industry to assure an adequate
    supply during bad flu seasons;
  oImprove diagnostics to ensure accurate surveillance and proper treatment
    of influenza-like illness;
  oExpand the use of nurse triage lines and other pre-hospital systems to
    reduce the number of healthy people seeking medical care;
  oCover flu vaccines under public and private insurance without
    cost-sharing. For instance, currently, 12 states and Washington, D.C. do
    not require Medicaid to cover flu shots with no co-payment requirements
    for beneficiaries under the age of 65;
  oInvest in research for a universal flu vaccine to replace the annual shot;
  oSustain investments – such as the Prevention Fund investments that have
    been used to improve the Immunization Information Systems and other
    information technologies – in immunization programs, adult immunization
    programs and vaccination capacity in schools;
  oBetter integrate electronic health records and public health surveillance
    systems to improve surveillance of flu outbreaks and improve two-way
    communication between clinicians and public health experts;
  oAllow workers in businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven
    job-protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their
    own illnesses, access preventive care or provide care to a sick family
    member. Currently, around 38 percent of private workers do not have any
    sick leave coverage (around 40 million Americans); Maintain the Strategic
    National Stockpile with emergency medical equipment and vaccines and
    medicines not only to respond to new pandemics but to help respond to
    shortages;
  oImprove disaster surge capacity so hospitals and health care providers are
    better able to respond to major increases in numbers of patients,
    including through regional coordination, strengthened health care
    coalitions and planning for discharging non-emergency patients; and
  oSustain federal, state and local funding for core public health
    capabilities, to ensure there are adequate resources and staff to maintain
    ongoing functions and respond to emergency needs when they arise. Since
    2008, state and local health departments have cut more than 45,700 jobs
    across the country.

As of November 2012, this season's flu vaccination rates were similar to those
in 2011 (36.5 percent of Americans ages 6 months and older were vaccinated by
November 2012 compared to 36.5 percent by November 2011), according to data
collected from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/nifs-estimates-nov2012.htm.

Last Flu Season's (2011-12) Vaccination Rates Data

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), vaccination rates have varied widely by state. During last year's flu
season (Fall 2011 to May 2012), vaccination rates of individuals ages 6 months
and older ranged from a high of 51.1 percent in South Dakota to a low of 32.6
percent in Nevada. Twelve states had rates below 40 percent.

In addition:

  oChild (ages 6 months to 18 years) vaccination rates: ranged from a high of
    73.8 percent in Rhode Island to a low of 38.8 percent in Alaska. Twenty
    states had rates below 50 percent. Hispanic children were the most likely
    to be vaccinated at 59.5 percent compared to 53.7 percent of Black
    children and 47.6 percent of white children;
  oSeniors (ages 65 and older) vaccination rates: Ranged from a high of 75.9
    percent in Iowa to a low of 49.5 percent in Alaska;
  oHealth care worker vaccination rates: 66.9 percent of health care workers
    were vaccinated.

Last Season's Flu Vaccination Rates State-by-State (for 2011-12)
State-by-state flu vaccination rates come from CDC. CDC analyzed NIS and
BRFSS data collected September 2011 through June 2012 from all 50 states and
the District of Columbia to estimate national and state level influenza
vaccination coverage for the 2011–12 influenza season. These findings were
compared to 2010-11 influenza season estimates.
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/coverage_1112estimates.htm#data

Ranking for total percent of all individuals (children and adults) ages 6
months and older vaccinated, including adults and children:

1. South Dakota (51.1%); 2. Massachusetts (50.1%); 3. Hawaii (49.9%); 4. Rhode
Island (49.8%); 5. Iowa (47.9%); 6. West Virginia (47.5%); 7. Maryland
(47.4%); 8. Tennessee (47.3%); 9. Minnesota (47.2%); 10. TIE Arkansas (46.6%);
and District of Columbia (46.6%); 12. North Carolina (46.5%); 13. Connecticut
(46.4%); 14. Delaware (46.1%); 15. Virginia (46.0%); 16. Maine (45.7%); 17.
TIE Oklahoma (45.5%); and Vermont (45.5%); 19. Nebraska (45.2%); 20. Kansas
(44.8%); 21. New Mexico (44.6%); 22. North Dakota (44.5%); 23. Louisiana
(44.4%); 24. Colorado (44.3%); 25. New Hampshire (43.8%); 26. Ohio (43.7%);
27. Pennsylvania (43.5%); 28. TIE New Jersey (42.8%); and Utah (42.8%); 30.
Kentucky (42.7%); 31. South Carolina (42.1%); 32. Missouri (41.8%); 33.
Washington (41.7%); 34. Alabama (41.6%); 35. Texas (41.4%); 36. New York
(41.4%); 37. Wisconsin (40.8%); 38. California (40.5%); 39. Indiana (40.0%);
40. Mississippi (39.6%); 41. Michigan (38.8%); 42. Georgia (38.5%); 43.
Arizona (38.2%); 44. Oregon (38.0%); 45. Illinois (37.3%); 46. Wyoming
(37.1%); 47. Florida (36.9%); 48. Montana (36.8%); 49. Alaska (34.7%); 50.
Idaho (34.3%); 51. Nevada (32.6%).

Rankings for adults ages 18 and older vaccinated:

1. South Dakota (48.9%); 2. Iowa (47.3%); 3. West Virginia (47.0%); 4.
Massachusetts (46.5%); 5. Tennessee (46.3%); 6. Minnesota (45.6%); 7. Hawaii
(45.4%); 8. Virginia (44.7%); 9. Kansas (43.8%); 10. North Carolina (43.7%);
11. Delaware (43.5%); 12. Nebraska (43.4%); 13. Rhode Island (43.3%); 14.
Oklahoma (43.0%); 15. Vermont (42.8%); 16. Maine (42.5%); 17. TIE District of
Columbia (42.4%); and Maryland (42.4%); 19. Connecticut (42.4%); 20. North
Dakota (42.0%); 21. Colorado (41.8%); 22. Ohio (41.5%); 23. Arkansas (41.4%);
24. New Hampshire (41.1%); 25. Kentucky (40.9%); 26. Missouri (40.8%); 27 TIE
Louisiana (40.4%); and Pennsylvania (40.4%); 29. Washington (40.1%); 30. Utah
(39.7%); 31. South Carolina (39.6%); 32. TIE Alabama (39.3%); and New Mexico
(39.3%); 34. Mississippi (38.6%); 35. TIE Indiana (37.7%); and Wisconsin
(37.7%); 37. Texas (37.3%); 38. TIE New Jersey (37.2 %); and New York (37.2%);
40. Michigan (36.7%); 41. Georgia (36.4%); 42. California (36.2%); 43. Oregon
(36.1%); 44. Montana (35.3%); 45. Florida (35.0%); 46. Illinois (34.8%); 47.
Arizona (34.7%); 48. Wyoming (34.6%); 49. Alaska (33.3%); 50. Idaho (31.4%);
51. Nevada (28.3%).

Rankings for children ages 6 months to 18 years old vaccinated:

1. Rhode Island (73.8%); 2. Hawaii (66.6%); 3. District of Columbia (65.1%);
4. Maryland (64.0%); 5. Massachusetts (63.4%); 6. Arkansas (63.3%); 7. New
Jersey (61.5%); 8. TIE Connecticut (60.8%); and New Mexico (60.8%); 10. Maine
(58.6%); 11. South Dakota (58.2%); 12. Louisiana (56.6%); 13. Vermont (56.5%);
14. North Carolina (55.7%); 15. Delaware (55.1%); 16. TIE New York (54.8%);
and Pennsylvania (54.8%); 18. North Dakota (53.7%); 19. New Hampshire (53.6%);
20. California (53.4%); 21. Oklahoma (53.2%); 22. Minnesota (52.6%); 23. Texas
(52.5%); 24. Colorado (52.4%); 25. Wisconsin (51.6%); 26. Ohio (50.9%); 27.
Nebraska (50.7%); 28. TIE South Carolina (50.6%); and Virginia (50.6%); 30.
Tennessee (50.4%); 31. Iowa (50.1%); 32. Utah (49.9%); 33. Alabama (49.4%);
34. West Virginia (49.3%); 35. Kentucky (48.9%); 36. Arizona (48.2%); 37.
Kansas (47.8%); 38. Indiana (47.4%); 39. Washington (46.9%); 40. TIE Michigan
(45.5%); and Nevada (45.5%); 42. Wyoming (45.2%); 43. Illinois (45.1%); 44.
Missouri (44.9%); 45. TIE Georgia (44.4%); and Oregon (44.4%): 47. Florida
(43.9%); 48. Mississippi (42.6%); 49. TIE Idaho (42.4%); and Montana (42.4%);
51. Alaska (38.8%).

Rankings for seniors ages 65 and older vaccinated:

1. Iowa (75.9%); 2. Tennessee (74.6%); 3. West Virginia (72.5%); 4. Louisiana
(72.3%); 5. North Carolina (71.6%); 6. Oklahoma (71.3%); 7. South Dakota
(71.0%); 8. Kansas (70.9%); 9. Missouri (70.8%); 10. Hawaii (70.6%); 11.
Vermont (70.1%); 12. Massachusetts (70.0%); 13. Minnesota (69.8%); 14.
Colorado (69.5%); 15. Maryland (69.4%); 16. Delaware (69.1%); 17. Mississippi
(68.8%); 18. Georgia (68.6%); 19. Ohio (68.1%); 20. TIE Pennsylvania (67.6%);
and Washington (67.6%); 22. Nebraska (67.1%); 23. TIE Alabama (67.0%); and
Kentucky (67.0%); 25. Maine (66.8%); 26. Connecticut (66.4%); 27. South
Carolina (65.7%); 28. Texas (65.1%); 29. North Dakota (65.0%); 30. Arkansas
(64.1%); 31. TIE Utah (63.6%); and Virginia (63.6%); 33. New Jersey (63.5%);
34. New Hampshire (62.9%); 35. New York (62.5%); 36. Florida (62.3%); 37.
Indiana (62.1%); 38. New Mexico (62.0%); 39. TIE District of Columbia (61.6%);
and Michigan (61.6%); 41. California (60.7%); 42. Rhode Island (60.3%); 43.
Montana (59.8%); 44. Illinois (59.1%); 45. Wyoming (58.7%); 46. Arizona
(58.1%); 47. Oregon (58.0%); 48. Idaho (57.7%); 49. Wisconsin (54.9%); 50.
Nevada (52.2%); 51. Alaska (49.5%).

Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization
dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and
working to make disease prevention a national priority.
www.healthyamericans.org

SOURCE Trust for America's Health

Website: http://www.healthyamericans.org/
Contact: Albert Lang, +1-202-223-9870 x 21, alang@tfah.org, or Laura Segal,
+1-202-223-9870 x 27, lsegal@tfah.org