Originally published in MedPage Today
by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent
As 2009 ended, an estimated 55 million Americans had been infected with the H1N1 pandemic flu and roughly one in five Americans had been vaccinated against the disease, the CDC said.
The proportion of people vaccinated was higher among those in priority groups, the agency said, including 29.4% of children ages 6 months through 18 years and 38% of pregnant women.
At the same time, the CDC issued new estimates of the toll taken by the pandemic virus since the outbreak began last April:
* About 55 million people had been infected up to Dec. 12, although the estimates ranged from 39 million to as high as 80 million.
* About 246,000 needed inpatient care, although the number ranged from 173,000 to 362,000.
* And about 11,160 died, with the estimate ranging from 7,880 to 16,460.
The vaccination findings are based on two surveys — the National 2009 H1N1 Flu Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, which took place from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2 and from Dec. 1 to 27, respectively.
Because vaccine was expected to be in short supply at the beginning, the CDC established initial target groups, including pregnant women, people living with or caring for infants under 6 months, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, children and young adults, and adults with certain medical conditions.
The CDC estimated that 27.9% of those people got vaccinated.
The agency said the vaccine supply is now “ample” and efforts to promote general vaccination should continue.