Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all Americans 6 months and older receive a flu shot, just 46.2% of the population was vaccinated during the 2013-2014 flu season, according to a report published on September 19, 2014, in the CDC’s MMWR.
The report found that vaccination coverage varied by age, with the highest vaccination rates among children younger than 5 years and adults 65 years and older. Overall, 58.9% of children 6 months to 17 years of age were vaccinated during the 2013-2014 season, up 2.3 percentage points from the 2012-2013 season. As children aged, coverage with the flu vaccine decreased.
The opposite trend was found among adults: vaccination rates increased with increasing age. Overall, 42.2% of all adults 18 years and older received the flu shot in the 2013-2014 season, up 0.7 percentage points from the previous season. Just 32.3% of young and middle-aged adults 18 to 49 years of age were vaccinated, compared with 65% of individuals 65 years and older.
Coverage rates also varied by state. Overall vaccination rates ranged from 36.4% in Nevada to 57.4% in South Dakota. Among children, coverage ranged from 42.1% in Wyoming to 74.5% in Rhode Island, and rates ranged from 32.3% in Nevada to 54% in South Dakota among adults.