Vaccination coverage is also lower among children, new paper finds.
According to two studies published on Nov. 9 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination coverage is lower among health care workers and kindergarteners.
According to one of the papers, only about four in five health care workers received an annual influenza vaccine during the 2022-2023 influenza season, down from at least 88 percent before the pandemic.
Vaccination coverage among hospital workers was reported to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network by hospitals. The CDC then compared vaccination rates across influenza seasons beginning in 2017.
Researchers discovered that coverage was no lower than 88 percent in the years preceding the pandemic, but dropped to as low as 80 percent after the pandemic began.
The most recent season, 2022-2023, had 81 percent coverage.
The season lasted from October 1st, 2022 to March 31st, 2023.
The reports were obtained from acute care hospitals.
Researchers reported in another paper that even fewer nursing home personnel received an influenza vaccine during the most recent season. Only 47.1 percent of those workers were covered.
The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccines for nearly all Americans aged 6 months and older.
For the same population, the CDC also recommends COVID-19 vaccination.
Researchers also discovered that few health care workers have received newer COVID-19 vaccines.
During the October to March season, only 23% of nursing home employees and 17% of workers in acute care hospitals had received a recent vaccination.
During that time, the CDC advised people to get a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine.
The bivalent shots, which were ineffective, were recently replaced by a new formulation.
Previously, COVID-19 vaccine coverage was much higher. For example, in April 2022, surveys revealed that 87.3 percent of health care workers had completed a primary series and 67.1 percent had received a booster.
COVID-19 vaccine uptake among all Americans has declined significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. According to CDC data, only 17 percent received a bivalent dose, compared to 69.5 percent who completed a primary series.
Approximately 5% of Americans have received one of the most recent vaccines, which were approved and recommended in August.
Another study published on Thursday discovered that fewer kindergartners have received school-mandated vaccines since the pandemic began.
In the 2019-2020 school year, 95 percent of students were immunized against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP), polio, and chickenpox. That coverage fell to 94 percent in the first full school year after the pandemic began, and it fell further to 93 percent in 2021-2022.
According to the new paper, coverage remained low in the 2022-2023 school year, while more exemptions were granted.
Among the kindergartners polled, 93.1 percent had received the MMR and polio vaccines, 92.9 percent had received the chickenpox, or varicella shot, and 92.7 percent had received the DTaP vaccine.
These percentages were almost identical to the previous school year.
However, the researchers discovered that 3% of children nationwide received an exemption from school vaccine mandates, a 0.4 percent increase from the previous year.
Exemptions increased in 41 states while decreasing in only five. Exemptions are now greater than 5% in ten states.
According to the researchers, the lower uptake among health care workers could be due to apprehension about receiving both the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. Recent research suggests that doing so may increase the risk of strokes, and a top US official has stated that he would get the shots at different times to reduce the risk of adverse events, even though the CDC says it is safe to get them both at the same time.
Another possible cause is increased mask use in health care facilities, which may have led to the perception that influenza vaccination was not as effective at preventing infection, according to the researchers.
The CDC’s director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, told CBS this week that people should get influenza and COVID-19 vaccines before Thanksgiving so that “your body can build up its protection ahead of the holiday season.” The only human data for the COVID-19 vaccines available showed that they increased neutralizing antibody levels, which are thought to protect against the illness, but no clinical efficacy estimates have been made public.
According to the researchers of the kindergarten study, coverage below 95% “increases the risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.” They suggested that increasing coverage could be accomplished by allowing students to begin school while on a “catch-up schedule” for doses not yet received.
The papers were published by the CDC’s quasi-journal, which frequently lacks peer review and instead shapes papers to align with the agency’s messaging. Acknowledged limitations include the possibility of overestimation or underestimation due to inaccurate or missing documentation.
Many parents have lost trust in health care, according to Dr. Renata Moon, a pediatrician who was fired from one of her jobs for raising concerns about COVID-19 vaccines.
“Events since 2020 have led to their’safer to wait’ vaccination approach.” “After reviewing the new studies, Dr. Moon told The Epoch Times that Americans do not appreciate attempts to force them to make personal decisions for their own children.”