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CDC records drop in vaccination rates during last year's killer flu season

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 26, Oct 2018, 10:30 am IST | UPDATED: 26, Oct 2018, 10:32 am IST

CDC records drop in vaccination rates during last year's killer flu season

Desk FnF: Only 37 percent of Americans got vaccinated against flu last season, just as one of the deadliest flu season in decades hit, health officials reported Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published its final estimates on the past flu season on Thursday. They show a severe influenza epidemic hit just as fewer Americans got the vaccine.

“Flu vaccination coverage among adults was 37.1 percent, a decrease of 6.2 percentage points from the previous flu season,” the CDC said in its latest report.

The result: More than 79,000 people died, close to 1 million ended up in the hospital and 48 million people got sick. Adult flu deaths are estimated but the CDC counts every child who dies of flu. Last season, 183 children died of influenza, the final numbers show.

Imagine being the parent of a child that died of influenza and had not had their child vaccinated," said Dr. William Schaffner, spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

And many deaths were among younger adults. “An estimated 10,300 deaths occurred among working age adults (aged 18–64 years), an age group that often has low influenza vaccination,” the CDC said.

The CDC found 30 million people aged 18 to 64 got sick with flu last season. Close to 12 million children 17 and younger got sick.

Influenza vaccines are notoriously poor at preventing infection, but last year’s flu vaccine lowered the risk of infection by about 40 percent.

But early estimates suggested, incorrectly, that it was even less effective, and surveys showed many people skipped their flu shots because they did not think they would work.

Anti-vaccine rhetoric also did not help, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials said.

“The false science being spread erodes trust in the public health system,” ASTHO CEO Michael Fraser said in a statement.

“Clearly, the anti-vaccination movement is taking advantage of the current climate of government distrust and the trend toward believing political statements over scientific ones to question vaccine safety.

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