Vaccine Uptake Remains Low for Flu and Covid-19 Jabs

Despite warnings of a possible winter Covid-19 surge and the fact that flu season started early this year and is tracking to be a difficult one, interest in getting the yearly shot and bivalent boosters remain low.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu shot uptake since early October is below what it was at the same time of year in previous seasons and the uptake for the bivalent coronavirus booster also remains low – at less than 13% of eligible people- nearly three months after it became available in early September.

In a typical year, around 50% of eligible people – at best – could be expected to get a flu shot over the course of the season, which is considered good preparation for any influenza season.

That means that the vaccination rate may lessen the burden on health systems by preventing enough people from getting severely sick and hospitalized and preventing deaths in vulnerable populations.

According to the CDC, child flu vaccination rates this year are at 40%, similar to last year’s but lower than the 2020-2021 and 2019-2020 seasons whereas adult coverage across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., decrease from recent years when it has ranged from 45 to 50% to 18.9 to 35.6 percent this year.

The data points out that in regard to COVID-19, a little over 39.7 million eligible Americans – about 12.7 percent- had received the updated bivalent booster shot as of Nov. 15.

According to the CDC, the uptake is bigger among the population aged 65 and older, where the rate is 32.6 percent, or about 17.8 million people, which still falls short of the uptake seen in the campaigns for the original coronavirus vaccination.

Just under 69% of Americans have completed the primary series – two doses of an mRNA vaccine- while about 80% have received at least one dose which, in part, reflects how people are thinking about their health and the potential benefits of a flu shot or coronavirus booster.

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