Many, if not most, U.S. infants do not receive flu vaccinations, but the number whoare vaccinated has dramatically increased over the past decade.

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A report published in Pediatrics, themedical journal affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatrics,found that in 2011-2012, only 44.7 percent of children between theages of six months and 23 months were subject to “full influenzavaccination coverage.”

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While experts would prefer the rate to increase--and it has inthe past four years--the fact that nearly half of infants receiveda flu vaccine is a radical change from 2002-2003, when only 4.8percent of infants were vaccinated.

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Black and Latino children were less likely than white childrento be vaccinated, a finding that is notsurprising, given the persistent health care disparities by raceand ethnicity.

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“Prevention of influenza among infants and young children is apublic health priority because of their high risk forinfluenza-related complications,” said the report, which waswritten by a team of researchers lead by Dr. Tammy A. Santibanez ofthe Center for Disease Control. “Depending on a child’s age andprevious influenza vaccination history, they are recommended toreceive either 1 dose or 2 doses of influenza vaccine to beconsidered fully vaccinated against influenza for the season.”

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The report’s conclusion is rather predictable: “Moreimplementation of evidence-based strategies that increase thepercentage of children who are fully vaccinated is needed.”

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The rates of vaccination are not muchbetter for older children.

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According to data compiled by the CDC last year, just under 50percent of children between 6 months and 17 years had received theflu vaccine in the past year. In the same year, the agency reported3,697 deaths from the flu.

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