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Flu Vaccine Rates Dropping in United States

Rates declined in 2005-2006, possibly a lingering effect of the 2004 shortage

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccination rates for Americans dropped during the 2005-2006 flu season to levels below those prior to the 2004 flu vaccine shortfall, according to a report in the Sept. 21 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 30.5 percent of high-risk 18- to 49-year-olds were vaccinated in 2005-2006, a median percentage point decline of 5.7 percent from 2003-2004, depending on the state.

In addition, 36.6 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 69.3 percent of those aged 65 or older were vaccinated in 2005-2006, a median 8.6 percent and 3.8 percent decline, respectively, compared with 2003-2004.

"Vaccination coverage in each age and risk group declined significantly for the 2005-2006 influenza season compared with the 2003-2004 season, indicating a possible lingering effect on coverage caused by the vaccine shortage during the 2004-2005 season," the authors write.

In a second report, the CDC investigators note that fewer than one-third of 6- to 23-month-old children received one or more flu vaccine dose in 2005-2006 and only one-fifth were completely vaccinated.

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