Flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone ages 6 months and older. Yet just 45 percent of the population followed that advice last year. Flu is particularly risky for seniors, children, pregnant women and people of any age with asthma, heart disease and other chronic diseases.
Two-thirds of adults 65 and older were vaccinated last year. So were nearly 57 percent of children, an increase of 13 percentage points over the past two years. The number is even higher among babies and toddlers — 77 percent — and Schuchat said pediatricians get the credit for pushing flu vaccination in recent years.
About half of pregnant women are vaccinated, a number also on the rise since the 2009 flu pandemic illustrated that population’s vulnerability.
But only 42 percent of adults younger than 65 were vaccinated, Schuchat said, with rates even lower among 18- to 49-year-olds.