US flu vaccination rates low in asthmatic adults
- Jataun Isenhower
- Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
"Increased state and national efforts are needed to improve influenza vaccination levels among this population and particularly among those aged 18-49 years," Dr. Peng-jun Lu and colleagues conclude in a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.The Healthy People 2010 national objectives call for yearly influenza vaccination of at least 60 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 years who have asthma and other conditions linked with increased risks of complications from the flu, the researchers note.
Dr. Lu's team analyzed data from 173,572 adults between 18 and 64 years old, one in 12 of whom had asthma.
During the 2006-2007 influenza season, flu vaccine coverage was just 40 percent among these high-risk individuals, the investigators report. Coverage rates ranged from about one in four in California to just over half in Tennessee.
For adults with asthma aged 18 to 49 years, influenza vaccination coverage was about one in three, compared to more than half for asthma patients aged 50 to 64 years.
The level of coverage "among younger adults with asthma is worrisome," the investigators say, noting that "approximately 34,867 patients aged 5 to 49 years are hospitalized for influenza-related respiratory or circulatory illness each year."
"Special intervention programs or strategies should be implemented to improve influenza vaccination coverage among this age group," they conclude.
Dr. Lu and colleagues also call on providers to "address barriers to delivery and acceptance of influenza vaccination among those with high-risk conditions, including asthma."
SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2009.