The flu vaccine prevented more than 6 million cases of influenza and about 79,000 hospitalizations during the 2012–2013 flu season, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 69 percent of the hospitalizations prevented by vaccination were in children aged 6 months through 4 years and people aged 65 and older—two of the groups who are most vulnerable to complications from the flu—according to the research, which appears in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
The numbers are impressive, but they could have been even better. The report found that less than 50 percent of people for whom the vaccine is recommended actually received it in 2012–2013.
“We could prevent even more illness by increasing the use of flu vaccines among people of all ages,” said Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC director.
CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every year.
For more information about flu vaccination rates and the benefits of the vaccine in different age groups, view the infographic here.