ATLANTA (AP) - Less than two-thirds of the nation's senior citizens have been vaccinated against flu and pneumonia - well short of the government's goal of 90 percent by 2010, the CDC reported Thursday.
In a 2001 survey of nearly 40,000 elderly people by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 65 percent said they had received a flu shot in the preceding year, and only 60 percent had gotten a shot against the most common form of bacterial pneumonia.
Flu kills 18,000 senior citizens a year in the United States. Pneumococcal disease, which includes pneumonia and bacterial meningitis, is responsible for 3,400 deaths among the elderly.
The 90 percent goal was set two years ago.
The CDC recommended doctors do more to offer shots to their patients.
The flu vaccination rate for senior citizens fell from 67 percent in 1999, and delays in last year's flu shot availability may help explain the drop, the CDC said. But the agency said that this flu season, there will be plenty of flu shots, with 93 million doses available.