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Not enough Americans getting flu vaccine

/ Source: The Associated Press

Not enough American adults are getting vaccinated against the flu, and the nation will probably fall short of the immunization-rate goals it set for the year 2010, federal health officials said Thursday.

The reasons include recurring vaccine shortages and a failure to educate older Hispanics about the importance of vaccinations, said Gary Euler, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The government set 2010 goals of a 90 percent flu vaccination rate for people 65 and older, and 60 percent for younger adults who have high-risk conditions.

But the rate for senior citizens was 64.6 percent in 2004, down from 65.6 percent the year before, Euler said.

For adults 19 to 49 with high-risk conditions, the rate rose to 26 percent in 2004, up from 24.2 percent in 2003. But the rate for adults ages 50 to 64 dropped to 45.5 percent, from 46.3 percent.

“Given these trends, the national targets for influenza coverage ... will not be met by 2010,” the CDC said.

CDC officials are hoping for a better vaccination campaign this fall.

Despite recent announcements that two vaccine producers will not deliver as many doses as originally promised, health officials said the nation should still get the 75 million doses needed to meet demand this fall and winter.