Report: Wisconsin Among Lowest-ranked States for Flu Vaccination

Madison, Wisconsin - According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin was ranked 44th in the U.S. for the number of people vaccinated against the flu during the 2012-2013 season.


The CDC said that influenza and pneumonia combined are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.


Dr. Jon Temte
UW Health family physician Dr. Jon Tempte

For children 6 months and older and all adults, Wisconsin had a vaccination rate of 40.6 percent. Wisconsin was one of only three states to see a decline in flu vaccination rates compared to the previous year.


Wisconsin also ranked 47th for the number of people aged 18 to 64 who were vaccinated in 2012-2013. The CDC data was analyzed and states were ranked by Trust for America's Health.


"Wisconsin does a great job when it comes to childhood immunizations," said Dr. Jon Temte of the UW Health Department of Family Medicine and chair of the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices and chairman of the advisory board for the State Department of Health Services Immunization Program. "We're in the 90th percentile for the usual childhood vaccinations. But some parents might not be motivated to get themselves or their children vaccinated against the flu because it's perceived as an optional vaccine."


Temte said Wisconsin also does well in the percentage of health care workers who are vaccinated against the flu. While there are no studies to show why Wisconsin does poorly on influenza vaccination, Temte has a theory.


"The single biggest predictor for people choosing vaccination is a strong recommendation from health care providers," said Temte. "Maybe some Wisconsin health care providers aren't advocating strongly for the flu vaccine."


The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot, preferably before the end of October. But Temte said that's not the only opportunity.


"You can get a flu vaccine any time between now and late in the flu season. But the earlier you get it, the longer you will have protection. It's something people can do to be proactive about their health and wellness," said Temte.


Date Published: 10/09/2014

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