Contact: Francine Axler, M.P.H., Senior Research Associate
Phone (215) 985-2521 • Fax (215) 985-2550 • firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, PA, March 23, 2005 — A local survey has found that despite recommendations that older adults receive a flu shot annually, three in ten older adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania did not receive a flu shot in the past year and one in five (21.2%) have never received a flu shot.
According to the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation’s (PHMC) 2004 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, flu shots among adults ages 60-74 are significantly lower than among adults ages 75 and older (61.4% of adults 60-74 vs. 78.2 of adults 75+).
And despite the fact that the flu sometimes develops into pneumonia, the data show that nearly half (49.1%) of the region’s older adults have never had a pneumonia vaccination.
PHMC data also found the region’s children are not getting flu shots at recommended rates. Despite health professionals’ recommendations that children 6 to 23 months of age receive a flu shot each year, less than one-half (43.1%) of these children received a flu shot in the past year. The data also found that children 17 and under living in poverty were more likely than non-poor children to receive a flu shot or flu mist (39.6% vs. 30.6%).
Flu shots are recommended to older adults, persons with a chronic health problem and children 6 to 23 months of age to help prevent the contraction of influenza each winter season. Flu mist is a recommended alternative for persons 5-49 years of age. In contrast, pneumonia shots are usually given only once during an individual’s lifetime but are often given with the flu shot. Adults with multiple health problems, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory complications such as asthma or emphysema, and those over age 65, may especially consider obtaining flu and pneumonia shots.
Although the flu typically does not show up in this region until November, the first confirmed case was announced at the end of September this year. To help find a flu shot clinic go to: http://flucliniclocator.org/.
The 2004 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey was conducted by PHMC’s Community Health Data Base project in the summer of 2004, including more than 10,000 telephone interviews in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The Community Health Data Base is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and a variety of participating agencies from the health, government, nonprofit, and academic sectors. PHMC is a non-profit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services.
For more information on flu shot activity in the region, go to http://www.chdbdata.org/.