More Adults With Diabetes Are Getting Flu Shots

Release date: April 8, 2010

The proportion of Americans with diabetes ages 18 to 64 who reported getting flu shots the previous year rose from 40 percent to 50.5 percent between 2000 and 2007, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In contrast, the proportion of seniors ages 65 and older with diabetes who reported getting a flu shot within the previous year remained roughly stable at about 70 percent.

AHRQ's analysis also found that between 2000 and 2007:

  • The immunization rate for people ages 18 to 64 with diabetes who were covered only by public insurance, such as Medicaid, surged by 14 percentage points (39 percent to 53 percent), followed closely by a 12 percentage point increase among those with private insurance (41 percent to 53 percent)
  • The immunization rate for diabetes patients ages 18 to 64 without insurance did not change, remaining at about one-third.
  • For diabetes patients ages 65 and over with Medicare, either alone or with supplemental private or public insurance, the immunization rates were stable, remaining at about two-thirds to three quarters.

This analysis was based on 2007 and 2000 data from AHRQ's Quality of Care Summary Data Tables (Go to Table 1.5). The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) collects information each year from a nationally representative sample of the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population about their health care use, expenses, access to services, health status, and the quality of the health care they obtained.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that persons who are at high risk of having serious flu complications get vaccinated each year. This includes all persons 65 years of age and older and persons with certain chronic conditions that weaken their ability to fight flu and its complications. Since many persons 50 to 64 years of age have one or more medical conditions that would place them at increased risk for serious complications from the flu, it is also recommended that all persons in this age group get yearly flu shots.

For other information, or to speak a MEPS data expert about the findings, E-mail Bob Isquith in AHRQ's Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer at [email protected] or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of April 2010