As many as 111 million Americans had gotten a flu shot by mid-November, representing 36% of the 305 million Americans older than 6 months of age, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in early December. The number of people getting vaccinated is up slightly from last year, the CDC reported, most notably among children and seniors.
Additionally, more influenza vaccines are being administered in a retail setting. While 55% of people are still getting their vaccinations in a doctor’s office or other medical setting, 21% of adults have been vaccinated in a retail setting and 16% in a workplace setting.
In 2010, of people who had gotten a flu shot, 58% did so before November, 23% were inoculated in November and 19% had their flu shots administered between December and May.
“This is the second year of our universal influenza vaccination recommendation,” reported Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases for the CDC, adding that the number of people who have gotten their flu shot to date is outpacing last year’s rate by about 3.5 percentage points during the same period in 2010.
Approximately 36% of adults had been vaccinated through Dec. 5, versus 34% in 2010; and 37% of children had been vaccinated through Dec. 5, versus 31% in 2010.
Flu is contagious up to one day before symptoms develop and between five days and seven days after symptoms subside.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Those at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu include seniors, toddlers, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, including asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray — is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
There are three “flu shots” this year: an intramuscular shot approved in people 6 months and older, a high-dose vaccine for seniors and for the first time this season, an intradermal vaccine for use in adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years.
Click here for data on the 2011-12 flu season.