Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination coverage among persons aged > or = 65 years--United States, 2004-2005.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Oct 06; 55(39):1065-8.MM
Vaccination of persons at increased risk for complications from influenza and pneumococcal disease is a key public health strategy in the United States. During the 1990-1999 influenza seasons, approximately 36,000 deaths were attributed annually to influenza infection, with approximately 90% of deaths occurring among adults aged > or = 65 years. In 1998, an estimated 3,400 adults aged > or = 65 years died as a result of invasive pneumococcal disease. One of the Healthy People 2010 objectives is to achieve 90% coverage of noninstitutionalized adults aged > or = 65 years for both influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations (objective 14-29). To assess progress toward this goal, this report examines vaccination coverage for persons interviewed in the 2004 and 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys. The 2004-05 influenza season was characterized by an influenza vaccine shortage. As a result, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued recommendations that influenza vaccine be reserved for persons in priority groups, including persons aged > or = 65 years, and that others should defer vaccination until supply was sufficient. The results of this assessment indicated that, overall, influenza vaccination coverage was lower in the 2005 survey year than in 2004, whereas pneumococcal vaccination coverage was nearly unchanged from 2004 to 2005. In both years, influenza and pneumococcal vaccination coverage varied from state to state. Continued measures are needed to increase the proportion of older adults who receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccines; health-care providers should offer pneumococcal vaccine all year and should continue to offer influenza vaccine during December and throughout the influenza season, even after influenza activity has been documented in the community.