DEERFIELD, Ill. — While most adults in the United States believe immunizations are important, consumer sentiment doesn't always drive behavior, according to a new survey by Walgreens.
The Walgreens Immunization Index survey of 600 adults, conducted by Directions Research between Aug. 29 and Sept. 15, and released by the retail pharmacy chain Thursday, found that 71% of respondents said being up-to-date on immunizations is important to maintaining good health, compared with 68% who said the same about annual doctor visits. But it also found that more than 40% don't know which immunizations they might need, while 31% didn't know the status of reported cases or outbreaks of whooping cough in their areas, despite 89% saying vaccinations can prevent disease amid what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the most severe outbreak of the disease, also known as pertussis, in 50 years.
The survey also found that 55% of respondents said they would be very likely to adhere to the vaccine recommendation for whooping cough, while 61% said they had never been immunized against it, and 37% said it had been more than 10 years since their last immunization or booster. Twenty percent said they didn't know when they received the vaccine.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of respondents said they could prevent shingles by washing their hands and getting plenty of sleep, though the only preventive measures are vaccination and maintaining a strong immune system; 13% said they considered themselves likely to get the disease in their lifetimes, though the CDC said 1-in-3 will develop it, with the elderly being particularly vulnerable.
Respondents showed greater knowledge of flu shots. Sixty-four percent said they would be likely to follow a healthcare provider's recommendation for a flu shot, while 85% of those who received one during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 had received them in the seasons since.