Comparing states on flu shot coverage

By: June 10th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

A CDC report shows how your state compares to other states in vaccination coverage for last year’s flu season.

For “State-Specific Influenza Vaccination Coverage,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 10, the CDC analyzed data collected from September 2010 to March 2011 from 43 states and DC.

Last year’s flu season was unusual for two reasons, reports the CDC:

  1. I it followed the 2009 influenza A pandemic (H1N1) season
  2. It was the first season the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended influenza vaccination of all persons six months or more of age

Influenza vaccination coverage last year was comparable to the 2009 pandemic year, 42.8% to 41.3%, according to the report.

States in which flu shot coverage was above 50% include:

  1. Hawaii (53.3%)
  2. Rhode (Island 53.1%)
  3. Massachusetts (51.6%)
  4. Minnesota (51.4%)
  5. Iowa (50.4%)

States with the lowest flu shot coverage, below 40%, were:

  1. Alaska (34.8%)
  2. Florida (36.6%)
  3. Mississippi (36.6%)
  4. Idaho (37.6%)
  5. Illinois (37.6%)

The report, which also breaks down vaccination coverage by age, notes that last year immunization among “Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children increased by 11–12 percentage points from 2009–10 levels.”

The good news, according to the CDC, is the sustaining of influenza vaccination rates since the 2009 pandemic.

The cautionary news is that there is still much to accomplish to reach the Healthy People 2020 targets of 80% for persons aged 6 months to 64 years, and 90% for adults 18 to 64 years old with high-risk conditions and adults 65 years and over, the report concludes.


By Denise Akert on June 10th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I looked at the low numbers of people immunized in Alaska and I would like to mention a few things. Our facility’s number is not quite that low because we are a Health Care facility and we try very hard to vaccinate our employees and their families. However, many people move to Alaska because they want to escape the growing population and regulations in the lower 48 states. They consider themselves “free spirits” and they do not want goverenment to tell them what to do. I know from my own family and friends that they feel that this influenza thing is a governement and journalistic “Hype” and they do not want to be part of it.
There is also a fair amount of Army and Airforce in Alaska and I know that they are required to get the Flu shot. I wonder if those numbers were calulated into the statistics.
There are also a large number of politians,administrators and educated people (University) who are refusing to get the flushot because they are afraid of needles!!!!
Public schools also do not vaccinate the children and that is where the “breeding ground” is the biggest.
Cost is another thing and half the population not having health insurance is another.
Some people also argue that the flushot only covers 3 strains and that it is just an educated guess, and that the chance of getting another strain that causes them to have just the same severe respiratory problems is just as big.
I am just telling you what I hear and see, not what I think.

By cj thomas on June 15th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Alaska looks bad, but when you consider the population density/geographic area of the state, you may realize that we are not living on top of each other and people who are not exposed to flu virus usually do not ‘catch it’. There are still people who live remotely with little access to health care or health threat. There are fewer people in our entire state than there are living in San Diego CA, in fact more than 2/3 fewer. Los Angeles has over 9 x the state of Alaska.
This is not to say I am against Flu Vaccination programs, I am in fact a believer and an advocate and vocal supporter. But realistically, Alaska has a lot of singular residents, who live here BECAUSE they feel less threatened by government intrusion.
As D. Akert noted, were the vaccinations passed out by the military included? They are the biggest employer in the state, so omitting their statistice would make a huge impact on your results.


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