Too Many Asthmatics Don't Get Flu Shots, CDC Warns

June 20, 2008

Among asthmatics, influenza vaccination coverage is increasing but remains far below the Healthy People 2010 targets of 60 percent for persons aged 18 to 64 with high-risk conditions and 90 percent for all persons aged 65 and older, according to a report published in the June 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

FRIDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Among asthmatics, influenza vaccination coverage is increasing but remains far below the Healthy People 2010 targets of 60 percent for persons aged 18 to 64 with high-risk conditions and 90 percent for all persons aged 65 and older, according to a report published in the June 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

C.B. Ligon, of the National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed 2006 National Health Interview Survey data to determine vaccination coverage among people aged 2 and older during the 2005-2006 flu season.

The researchers found that coverage among asthmatics was higher than among non-asthmatics (36.2 percent versus 23.9 percent), and that the rates had significantly increased in both groups since the 2004-2005 flu season. They also found that coverage was highest among asthmatics aged 50 to 64 and age 65 and above (48.6 percent and 75.7 percent, respectively).

"Vaccination rates remained below target levels among all subgroups examined, including those reporting the greatest number of health care visits in the past 12 months," the authors write. "The results of this study indicate that influenza vaccination coverage of all persons with asthma can be improved by increasing access to health care and using opportunities for vaccination during health care visits."

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