More children receiving flu vaccinations in U.S.

A U.S. health officials announced that more children than ever are receiving vaccinations to protect against influenza at a news conference held by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases on Thursday.

The data, which was collected and reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in an issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The 2012-2013 season shows a coverage of children from the age of six months through 17 years at 56.6 percent, an increase of 5.1 percent over the 2011-2012 season. In adults 18 years of age and older, the gains were smaller, with 41.5 percent receiving vaccinations for an increase of 2.7 percent.

"Despite substantial progress, we can do even more to make our country healthier through prevention," Howard K. Koh, the assistant secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said. "Flu vaccination should represent a simple investment we make year in and year out to maximize the gift of health."

Additionally, coverage in pregnant women showed much higher gains than several years ago but has appeared to stall at approximately 50 percent.

The vaccination coverage among children six months of age and older varied across the states, with 23 percent gap from the highest ranking state.