CDC: Low flu, pneumonia vaccination rates blemish a good picture of seniors' health

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Seniors in the United States are meeting most health targets, but many are still not being vaccinated for the potentially fatal conditions of influenza and pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC considered the health status, health behaviors, preventive care and screening, and injuries of people aged 65 and older to create the National Report Card on Healthy Aging, contained in the recently released report “The State of Aging and Health in America 2013.” 

As of 2010, about 68% of seniors had received a pneumonia vaccine at some point in their lives, and 67% percent had received a flu vaccination in the previous year, according to the report card. These numbers fell short of the target rate of 90% for both vaccines.

Long-term care providers battled a particularly severe flu season in 2013. Outbreaks in nursing homes and other facilities sparked debates about vaccination policies for healthcare workers and raised concerns about the effectiveness of vaccination for seniors. This year's vaccine was effective for only 9% of those 65 and older, according to CDC figures from February. 

Seniors met all the target scores on the report card related to health behaviors, such as taking medication for high blood pressure. There was no target score set for certain other indicators, such as the percentage of seniors injured in a fall during the past year (31.7% in 2010).

Click here to view the full report.