CDC targets higher flu vaccination rates

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is looking to increase the vaccination rates for physicians during the 2012-13 flu season.

Approximately 86 percent of physicians and 78 percent of nurses received the vaccination during the 2011-12 season. The percentage of health care workers receiving the flu shot rose from 64 percent in 2010-11 to 67 percent during the 2011-12 flu season, American Medical News reports.

"Getting vaccinated also sets a good example when recommending the vaccination to patients," Litjen Tan, the medicine and public health director of the American Medical Association, said, according to American Medical News.

Tan said that physicians should get vaccinations and recommend the vaccines to their patients. In a CDC study, pregnant women were found to be five times more likely to get a vaccination if they received a recommendation from their physician.

"A physician's recommendation can be the deciding factor for patients who are sitting on the fence over whether or not to get vaccinated," Tan said, according to American Medical News.

Approximately 42 percent of the general U.S. population was vaccinated against the flu during the 2011-12 season, with 128 million administered flu shots. This represents a slight improvement over the 123 million administered flu shots during the previous flu season.

"Every physician has an opportunity this flu season to remind their patients to get vaccinated," Tan said, according to American Medical News. "Physicians such as cardiologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, pulmonologists and endocrinologists will all have high-risk patients and should encourage their patients to get vaccinated as soon as it is available in their communities."