CVS/pharmacy survey: Less than half of Americans more likely to get flu shot this year

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — According to a new survey from CVS/pharmacy, less than half of those surveyed (46%) were more likely to get a flu shot this year following last season's late flu outbreak. However, many more (59%) said they consider it a social responsibility to get the flu shot every year in order to keep their community healthy and minimize the spread of the influenza virus.

"It is important for people to get the flu shot annually because it is the most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza to others, and your immunity from the virus declines over time," stated Papatya Tankut, VP of pharmacy affairs at CVSCaremark. "The results of our consumer survey demonstrate the heightened awareness among Americans to get vaccinated, and CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are two of the most convenient places to get a flu shot."

Convenience is a major driver in a consumer's decision about where to receive a flu shot. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents agree that it is inconvenient to make an appointment for a flu shot.

CVS Caremark stated that this season more than 7,500 CVS/pharmacy stores and 650 MinuteClinic sites inside select CVS locations will be providing flu shots every day, including evenings and weekends, no appointment needed. All CVS/pharmacy and most MinuteClinic locations are offering flu vaccinations this week, and all locations will have the vaccine in stock by the end of August.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone who is at least 6 months old get a flu shot as soon the vaccine is available.

The survey also indicated that 80% of respondents who have ever received a flu shot would recommend the high-dose flu vaccine to a friend or family member over the age of 65 years, knowing that it increases the immune system's response for added protection against the flu virus.

For customers 65 years or older, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic offer the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine. The high dose vaccine contains four times the antigens as the seasonal flu vaccine in order to provide better protection for this age group, who are at greater risk of developing severe illness from the flu.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • More than 60% agree that they feel more susceptible to the flu virus when traveling;
  • Nearly 2-out-of-5 respondents agree that they are more likely to get a flu shot when flu outbreaks are reported in the news; and
  • More than half of those who have ever received a flu shot did so because they believe it keeps them healthy and safe.

Health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, typically cover the full cost of a flu shot. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic can directly bill many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot.

Customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy Shopping Pass when they get a flu shot at CVS or MinuteClinic. The Shopping Pass can be used with CVS/pharmacy's ExtraCare card to save 20% off non-pharmacy purchases up to $100.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CVS/pharmacy from June 18 to 20 among 2,084 adults, ages 18 years and older.

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