CDC Calls for Greater Vaccination Against Impending Influenza

Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging all Americans aged 6 months and older to receive flu shots for the impending influenza season.

Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging all Americans aged 6 months and older to receive flu shots for the impending influenza season, given that less than half of the population received such vaccinations last year.

According to the CDC’s September 19, 2014, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, just one-third of adults aged 18 to 64 years who were hit hardest by the previous influenza season received flu shots last year. Overall, only 46% of Americans were vaccinated for the 2013-2014 influenza season.

Immunization coverage was greater among the pediatric population, however, as nearly 60% of children aged 6 months to 17 years were vaccinated against influenza last year, compared with 42% of adults, the report found.

“Influenza is constantly evolving, and it’s unpredictable,” said National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Past-President William Schaffner, MD, during a CDC press conference on the latest flu figures. “That is why everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every year. What is it about ‘everyone’ that we don't understand?”

To help expand influenza vaccination coverage, retail pharmacies across the United States are increasingly providing immunization services to patients. In fact, nearly 50% of all adult flu vaccinations are currently administered at drugstores, retailers, and other nonmedical settings, according to a recent Associated Press report.

Roughly 150 million doses of influenza vaccine are on track for distribution in the United States for the present flu season, up from 134.5 million doses for the 2013-2014 flu season, the CDC said. Although flu activity usually peaks between December and February, the influenza season can start as early as October and end as late as May.