ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – The vaccination rate in the United States for the flu this season has been called disappointing.
With data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) conducted a state-by-state analysis that found roughly 40 percent of residents ages 18 to 64 living in 32 states weren’t vaccinated.
Florida had the worst vaccination rate while Massachusetts had the best in the nation during last year’s flu season.
“The trend of low vaccination rates among younger adults is particularly troubling this year, when they are more at risk than usual for the effects of the H1N1 strain of flu that’s circulating,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH in a press release.
Less than half of American, 45 percent, got a flu shot during the 2012-2013 season, according to TFAH. In the previous 2011-2012 season, only 41.8 percent of Americans got the flu shot.
“It’s easy to become complacent about the flu. We’re used to it, it happens every year. So much so that we forget that it is largely preventable through a quick shot – which I might add is now free to most Americans thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” Levi stated in the press release. “The flu isn’t just an uncomfortable inconvenience, it is deadly and costly. And millions of Americans do not even have paid sick leave, so they either go to work sick – infecting others – or do not get paid.”
The CDC provides the recommendation that everyone six months and older get a flu shot as soon as they become available each year. According to the CDC, the flu is now widespread in 35 states.
The most prevalent flu strain this season is H1N1, which can adversely and disproportionately impact otherwise seemingly healthy children and young adults, the CDC reported.
The TFAH notes that nearly one in five Americans get the flu each season. Depending on the severity of the flu each season, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die and 226,000 are hospitalized from the flu each year.