Diminshed H1N1 Activity in the USA: Forgotten but not Gone

According to the latest influenza surveillance from CDC, no states have reported widespread flu activity for four consecutive weeks. However, pneumonia and influenza (P&I) mortality as a percentage of recorded deaths was 8.1% and is hovering above epidemic threshold (7.8%). One expert, speaking on background said the H1N1 epidemic has “one foot in the grave.”

Supplies of H1N1 vaccine are ample with 155 million doses shipped around the country up to date. However, H1N1 vaccine uptake has been estimated at over 70 million doses, approximately 23.4% of all Americans. By contrast, 114 million doses of seasonal flu vaccines were produced; CDC says nearly all were used.

Public attitudes suggest no sense of urgency to get the vaccine. According to the latest surveys from the Harvard School of Public Health, “almost half of Americans believe the H1N1 flu outbreak is over (44%).” Few (18%) think it is “very likely” there will be another widespread outbreak of H1N1 in the U.S. in the next 12 months. Some 61% of adults have not received the H1N1 vaccine and do not intend to get it. This is up from 55% at the close of 2009.

More than half of parents either got the vaccine for their children (40%) or intend to get it before the end of February 2010 (13%).” This more or less tracks with CDC figures, which estimates H1N1 vaccine uptake for children under 18 years at 37%. CDC has also warned that only 37% of children under age 10 have received the recommended two shots.

Editor’s Comment: These attitudes suggest public health communicators and planners have an uphill climb at best to increase H1N1 vaccine demand. Question: Should flu experts, either within or outside the government, speak on background? Though H1N1 is localized, it unfortunately continues to send some to their graves.

Vitamin World

Vitamin World
AP: Is the US swine flu epidemic over?
CIDRAP: US H1N1 vaccine uptake estimated at 75 million
Harvard SPH: Press Releases, 2010 Releases, Nearly Half of Americans Believe H1N1 Outbreak is Over, Poll Finds
MedPage: H1N1 Vaccination Still a Good Idea, CDC Says
MSNBC: 60 million in U.S. vaccinated against swine flu
Reuters: Swine flu still out there, officials caution

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  1. […] Diminishing flu activity and a relatively quiet flu season are also adding to (mis)perceptions that the danger of H1N1 has receded. […]

  2. […] Influenza Monitor, February 7, 2010 […]