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States with the highest flu vaccination rates

  • States with the highest flu vaccination rates

    Your yearly flu vaccine protects you and those around you from the influenza virus, which could be deadly. You should not get vaccinated too early, or you may have reduced immunity by the time the flu virus starts circulating in your community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccine in September or October to prepare for the flu season in the late fall and winter.

    Flu vaccines are updated each year to protect you against the viruses in circulation for the upcoming flu season. Vaccines are readily available through places such as health departments, community clinics, and pharmacies. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to produce enough antibodies to the virus to fully protect you against the flu.

    Almost anyone over 6 months of age can get a flu vaccine, including pregnant women and most people with egg allergies. Flu vaccines are administered either as an intramuscular injection, usually in the upper arm, or as a nasal spray. Vaccines can protect you against three different strains of the flu virus (trivalent vaccines) or four different strains of the virus (quadrivalent vaccines).

    The most common side effects of the injectable flu vaccine are soreness at the injection site, muscle aches, and a fever. The side effects of the nasal spray vaccine are the same, and may also include a runny nose.

    People over age 65 should get either a high-dose quadrivalent vaccine, which contains four times the flu antigen (the ingredient that prompts your body’s immune response) of the standard quadrivalent vaccine, or an adjuvanted vaccine, which contains an ingredient that prompts a stronger immune response to the virus. In the U.S., both the high-dose vaccine and the adjuvanted vaccine are approved only for people over 65.

    To determine the flu vaccination coverage for every state, Stacker consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Influenza Seasons Vaccination Coverage Trend Report. This source includes six-month coverage estimates based on surveys of residents in each state during flu seasons from 2010-2011 to 2019-2020. States are ranked based on their average vaccination coverage through these ten seasons. Data are as of October 1, 2020. There are no ties; ranks are based on numbers with further decimal points that have been rounded in the story.

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  • #51. Nevada

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 38%
    --- 17.2% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (44.4%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (32.6%)

    In June 2020, Nevada’s State Immunization Program received an extra $1.3 million from the CDC to expand the state’s flu vaccination campaign in the 2020-21 season. The state program redirected funds to Immunize Nevada, a nonprofit dedicated to immunizations, and three local health districts, which plan to organize mass vaccination events and “vaccination strike teams” to help protect Nevada’s more vulnerable communities.

  • #50. Florida

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 38.8%
    --- 15.3% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (44.5%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2012-13 (34.1%)

    Florida saw the lowest flu vaccination rate of any state for the three seasons from 2017 to 2020, according to insurance research firm AdvisorSmith. Medical professionals and city leaders in Jacksonville are working to improve their community’s rate this year through a campaign called “FluVaxJax,” which will raise money to provide free flu shot vouchers to the city’s uninsured residents.

  • #49. Idaho

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 39.4%
    --- 14.1% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (44.9%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (34.3%)

    The Idaho Immunization Coalition is the board of directors that oversees Get Immunized, Idaho, a vaccine advocacy group made up of scientists, medical professionals, and parents. In November, the group sponsored a drive-through flu vaccine clinic at Idaho State University in Pocatello.

  • #48. Wyoming

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 39.6%
    --- 13.5% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (47.3%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2017-18 (35.3%)

    University of Wyoming pharmacy students have partnered with the Downtown Clinic in Laramie to provide free flu vaccines for high-priority, uninsured or underinsured residents of Albany County. The clinic received a grant from the Wyoming Department of Health Office of Rural Health to provide 500 doses of the vaccine. The flu vaccination clinic is held weekly and no appointment is necessary.

  • #47. Alaska

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 40.4%
    --- 11.8% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (45.8%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (34.7%)

    The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is offering flu vaccinations at the Alaskan Native Medical Center walk-in clinic in Anchorage. Flu vaccinations are available seven days a week at the clinic, located on Ambassador Drive in the Healthy Communities Building.

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  • #46. Arizona

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 41.3%
    --- 9.9% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (46.5%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (38.2%)

    Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Aug. 31 that Arizona will provide free flu vaccines to uninsured and underinsured residents. However, the cost to taxpayers was yet to be determined, and residents may have to pay a fee to the medical provider. The state will also provide a $10 gift card to Medicaid recipients as an incentive to receive the flu vaccine.

  • #45. Georgia

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 41.7%
    --- 9.1% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (45.9%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (38.5%)

    The Georgia Department of Public Health launched a campaign called Yes, You! to encourage all residents to get a flu vaccine. The message behind the campaign is that everyone over the age of 6 months needs to be vaccinated against the flu, and there is a flu vaccine appropriate for everyone.

  • #44. Mississippi

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 42.2%
    --- 8.0% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (45.9%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (39.6%)

    Organizations in Mississippi including the Mississippi Association of Family Physicians, the Mississippi chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the state health department have formed Flu Fighters, a coalition to encourage residents to get vaccinated against the flu. Flu Fighters can be followed on social media using the hashtag #FightFluMS.

  • #43. Oregon

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 42.4%
    --- 7.4% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (51.4%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2010-11 (37.5%)

    On May 6 of last year, the Oregon legislature passed House Bill 2220 that allows dentists to prescribe and administer any vaccine, including the flu vaccine, after they have received training and certification. The bill had the support of the Oregon Dental Association. Although Minnesota and Illinois currently allow dentists to administer flu vaccines, Oregon is the only state that allows dentists to administer other vaccines.

  • #42. Illinois

    - Average flu vaccination coverage, 2010-20: 42.8%
    --- 6.7% below national average
    - Season with the best coverage: 2019-20 (52.2%)
    - Season with the worst coverage: 2011-12 (37.3%)

    This year, the Illinois Department of Health and local health departments across the state are asking residents to roll their #SleeveUp, and get their flu vaccine. Residents can show their support by following the #SleeveUp hashtag on social media and letting others know they did their part to #FightFlu.