South Dakota lead the nation in flu shots in 2009

According to a recently released survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, South Dakota had the highest flu vaccination rates for three adult groups for both H1N1 and seasonal flu in 2009.

South Dakota vaccinated 34.4 percent of adults 18 and over for H1N1, far ahead of any other state, the Daily Republic reports.

“With two separate vaccines, the 2009-2010 flu season was a very challenging one for vaccinators,” Dr. Lon Kightlinger, the state epidemiologist for the South Dakota Department of Health, said, according to the Daily Republic. “The fact that South Dakota had such high coverage rates for both seasonal and  H1N1 vaccines, speaks volumes about how dedicated and effective our state’s private and public vaccine providers are.”

South Dakota ranked first in seasonal flu vaccination coverage rate in 2009 with 52 percent of adults 18 and older, 40.4 percent of adults 18 through 49 who were non-high risk, and 56.7 percent of adults 50 through 64 years, the Daily Republic reports. They were also in the top five of people six months and older, high-risk 18 to 49 year old adults, and adults 65 years and older.

“Influenza season has started in South Dakota and neighboring states,” Kightlinger said, according to the Daily Republic. “In recent weeks we have had flu cases and hospitalizations reported from around the state. We expect influenza activity to increase in coming weeks.”

Kightlinger suggested vaccination, frequent hand washing, staying home if sick and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze to prevent disease transmission.