Report: Missouri Infectious Disease Policy Strong, Flu Rate High

Flu shots sign | Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
A study shows 46.7 percent of Missourians received flu shots in 2012-13. | Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Rates of the flu are particularly high in Missouri, as well as other Midwestern and Southern states like Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Although adults between the ages of 18 and 64 are less likely to get the flu vaccine than children or seniors, Missouri’s percentage of people between 18 and 64 who were vaccinated in the 2012-13 flu season was 38.1 percent, just above the national average of 35.7 percent, according to an analysis released by the Trust for America’s Health. However, 46.7 percent of the state’s total population did get the flu vaccine for the 2012-2013 flu season.

Missouri scored a six out of 10 points on key indicators of policies and capabilities to protect against infectious disease threats, according to a report released by TFAH in December. It did better than seven of its eight bordering states and tied with the other, Tennessee.

The flu was one of the categories Missouri did not earn points for because the state did not vaccinate half of its population for the seasonal flu during the 2012-2013 season. Almost one in five Americans gets the flu each year, which contributes approximately $10.4 billion directly to health care and high worker absentee expenses, according to the release.

On Monday, Congress allocated $156.7 million for influenza planning and response, which is about $6.6 million more than in fiscal year 2013.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also funded pandemic influenza preparedness for the first time since fiscal year 2011.

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