Janauary 2019 Issue
Many Don’t Plan to Get Flu Vaccine
Despite last year’s influenza season being one of the worst in a decade, many Americans don’t plan to get the flu shot, a new survey says.
By mid-November, 43% of the more than 1,000 consumers surveyed said they had gotten a flu shot, while 41% said they had not been vaccinated and do not intend to be, according to the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago survey.
When asked why they did not intend to be vaccinated, 36% of consumers said they were concerned about side effects from the vaccine. Thirty-one percent say they don’t believe the vaccine works well. In addition, 31% cited concerns about getting sick from the vaccine.
Thirty percent said a major reason they do not get vaccinated is because they never get the flu.
“Unfortunately, many people are still not getting flu shots due to broader misconceptions about the value of receiving a flu shot and concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines,” says Caitlin Oppenheimer, senior vice president of Public Health Research for NORC at the University of Chicago, in a statement.
People rarely cited barriers to access—such as the vaccine costing too much (6%) or not having time to get it (5%)—as reasons they would not be vaccinated.
People age 60 and older reported the highest vaccination rate at 62%. However, 24% of people over 60 still do not plan to get vaccinated this season. Adults under age 45 are the least likely to report being vaccinated, NORC finds, and around 50% of this group said they do not plan to receive a flu vaccine.
The CDC estimates that flu vaccination coverage among adults was 37% for the 2017-2018 season and 43% for the 2016-2017 season.
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