A state report released this past week indicated that Massachusetts led the country in the number of vaccinations against the seasonal flu and H1N1. 57% of the state’s population was vaccinated against the seasonal flu with 36% of individuals were inoculated against H1N1. Nationwide, only 37% of the population was immunized against the flu, and a meager 21% against H1N1.
Close to two million doses of the H1N1 vaccine was distributed in the state of Massachusetts over the course of this past flu season. HCFA played its role, with our Helpline working with the Department of Health to increase awareness of the flu and H1N1 to callers. In addition, local health departments in collaboration with schools and hospitals released public health messages, such as 30-second commercials, Facebook and Twitter messages, brochures, and transportation advertisements.
All cases of the flu are lower than normal for this time of the year, and the reason could be linked to the raised public awareness. The chances of contracting H1N1 are diminishing in the state, with a third having been inoculated and another third already contracting the virus. Officials plan to include the H1N1 strain into next season’s flu shot, and the hope is that even more people over the age of 6 months, will receive the shot.