Millennials are the least likely age group to receive the flu vaccine, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).1
Fifty-five percent of millennials who were surveyed had not received the flu vaccine this year and a third of those had no plans to be vaccinated, according to the AAFP.
“My millennial patients really struggle to come in for preventive care in general, so if they don't get sick or need a required physical for work, there is a good chance I won't have an opportunity to talk to them about influenza vaccine,” Margot Savoy, MD, MPH, a graduate of the AAFP Vaccine Science Fellowship program and a former AAFP liaison to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices told the AAFP after viewing the results.
Millennials were twice as likely as other groups to say they had not gotten the vaccine because they forgot.
The age group was also found to be the least-informed group about the risks of influenza and more likely to agree with antivaccination beliefs.
The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between November 27 and December 9 and included feedback from adults between the ages of 25 to 73 years old.
During the survey, participants were asked about a series of facts and myths about influenza to gauge their knowledge. At least 86% of millennials got at least 1 of the facts incorrect and nearly a third (31%) got all of the facts incorrect.
These percentages are greater than the overall survey results, which found more than 80% of adults got at least 1 fact wrong and 28% answered them all incorrectly.
The survey results also found that 60% of those within the millennial group who were familiar with the antivaccination efforts said that they agreed with at least of portion of the movement’s beliefs.
The survey also examined differences among ethnic populations and found that African Americans had the lowest vaccination rate, with 55% reporting they had gotten the immunization. Nearly 90% got at least 1 of the facts about the flu incorrect, according to the survey’s results.
Savoy said she believed the survey revealed the continued need to eliminate potential obstacles for patients of any age or ethical background.
“I think we should continue to offer vaccine to everyone at each opportunity and find ways to reduce barriers wherever possible (no appointment needed, no copay, offering pain minimizing techniques, etc.),” she told AAFP. “It is always great to use diverse images in marketing campaigns, but I would not approach how I recommend influenza vaccine differently based on age, race or cultural background.”
According to the CDC, there have been an estimated 22 million to 31 million flu illnesses from October 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020.2
- Survey Reveals Common Misconceptions About Flu, Vaccination [news release]. American Academy of Family Physicians’ website. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20200122flusurvey.html.
- CDC. 2019-2020 US Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates. CDC’s website. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm