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Only 60 percent of U.S. seniors got flu shots this season, survey says

By Tauren Dyson
Only 60 percent of U.S. seniors got flu shots this season, survey says
While the number is an improvement from 41 percent last month, it is well below the level that analysts say it should be at -- 100 percent. Photo by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Only about 60 percent of seniors in the U.S. have gotten a flu shot this season, a survey says.

Results from the December Health Flu Shot Monitor, released Friday by health insurance company Clover Health compiled flu shot data Nov. 19 to Nov. 29 for people 60 and older. That number is not much better than the 41 percent of seniors who reportedly received flu shots in November's Flu Shot Monitor, the company reported.

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Clover says that Medicare Advantage has even talked about the importance for seniors to get flu shots. According to AARP, more than 12,000 people died during last year's flu season from the illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fewer people traditionally get flu shots past November.

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"In recent years, for example, it's estimated that between about 70 percent and 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group," the agency said.

The CDC says there are even different flu vaccines designed for people older than 65, allowing for consideration of health conditions in each person receiving the vaccine.

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"Even in December, it's not too late to get a flu shot," said Kumar Dharmarajan, chief scientific officer at Clover Health. "While we are heartened by the improvement from last month's findings, it is well below the 100 percent level where it needs to be. As it gets colder and people spend more time indoors, it is crucial that seniors get vaccinated to prevent the spread of infection in their communities."

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