WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Only 35.7 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 64 got the flu shot during the 2012-13 flu season, according to an analysis released Tuesday, although the U. S. government recommends all American six months and older get vaccinated each year.
By comparison, 56.6 percent of children aged 6 months to 17 years old and 66.2 percent of seniors aged 65 and older were vaccinated, said the analysis released by the Trust for America's Health, a Washington, DC-based health advocacy organization.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2013-2014 flu season in the United States is beginning to "ramp" up and flu is now widespread in 35 states. H1N1 is the most prevalent flu strain this season, which can disproportionately and adversely impact otherwise healthy children and young adults.
"The trend of low vaccination rates among younger adults is particularly troubling this year, when they are more at risk than usual for the effects of the H1N1 strain of flu that's circulating, " said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, in a statement.
The analysis found that overall flu vaccination rates remain low in the United States. Fewer than half of Americans (45 percent) got a flu shot during the 2012-13 season, the most recent period data available, but it was already an increase over 41.8 percent in the previous season.
Among U.S. states, vaccination rates were highest in Massachusetts at 57.5 percent, and lowest in Florida at 34.1 percent. Only 12 states had vaccination rates of 50 percent or higher: Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Tennessee.
The flu contributes to around 10.4 billion U.S. dollars in direct healthcare costs and high worker absentee expenses. Each year, one in five, or an average of 62 million, Americans get the flu.
Between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die depending on the severity of the season, and 226,000 are hospitalized from the flu each year. Between 2004 and 2012, 830 children between 6 months and 18 years old died from flu complications although 43 percent of these children were completely healthy otherwise, according to the Trust for America's Health.