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Influenza (the flu) can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.


  •  Anyone can get sick from the flu.

  •  The severity of flu varies annually (1).

  •  Flu illnesses occur in people of all ages, resulting in lost days from work and school and doctor visits (1).

  •  An average of 226,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 flu-related deaths occurring each year (2, 3).


The first and most important step in protecting against the flu is to get a flu vaccination each season. CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccination each year (1).


Survey data were collected using an internet panel survey of adults (National Internet Flu Survey) conducted from November 2-15, 2012 and using an ongoing telephone survey of parents (National Immunization Survey) from October 4-November 17, 2012. The results of these survey data provide information for use by vaccination campaigns during National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 2-8, 2012). This report provides timely early flu season estimates (early to mid-November) of how many people in the United States received a flu vaccination. Final 2012-13 influenza season coverage estimates will be available after the end of the season.


Note: This report compares November 2012 estimates with results from the November 2011 and March 2011 National Immunization Survey (NIS) and National Flu Survey (NFS). The survey methods for the child data collection was the same for the two seasons. The survey methods for the adult data changed. Last season the survey was a telephone survey while this season the survey was an internet survey; readers should be aware that the estimates for adults may not be directly comparable.

Key Findings

Fewer than half of children and adults were vaccinated by early season (early to mid-November 2012);


  •  36.5% of people 6 months and older,

  •  39.9% of children, and

  •  35.2% of adults had received a flu vaccination.


 Flu vaccination coverage estimates were similar to those from the same time during the last flu season.


Among children, early season flu vaccination coverage was similar across all the racial/ethnic groups.


Among adults, Hispanics had lower flu vaccination coverage than both non-Hispanic white adults and non-Hispanic other or multiple race adults. Flu vaccination coverage was similar across all other racial/ethnic groups.


Among both adults and children, the most common places for flu vaccination were medical locations. Retail settings and work places were other important venues for adults.




Flu vaccination coverage is similar to what it was during the same time last flu season.


More than 60% of Americans have not taken advantage of flu vaccination and the protection it offers from influenza and its complications.


Individuals should get flu vaccinations as soon as possible.


Providers should recommend a flu vaccination to all their patients and make plans to vaccinate their patients and staff, as well as get vaccinated themselves.


Vaccination providers and immunization programs should work to ensure reminder/recall systems are in place so that everyone is reminded to get a flu shot during the season.

National Early Season Flu Vaccination Coverage 


United States, 2012-13 Flu Season

Available as PDF  [561 KB, 14 pages]

Data sources: National Immunization Survey and National Internet Flu Survey, November 2012