More patients ‘get the point’ of flu shots

While there is still plenty of room for improvement, a growing number of patients have either already received or plan to receive a flu shot this year compared to one year ago. According to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers conducted in September, 57% of patients have received or plan to receive a flu shot this year, versus 53% in 2011. 

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Focusing solely on patients who did not receive a flu shot in 2011, the recent Accent-Health data indicate a net increase of 11 percentage points in the number who will vaccinate this year. While there appears to be a significantly greater propensity to receive a flu vaccination among patients 45 years and older, “the younger audience segment remains an important area of focus and opportunity of market growth due to the sheer size of the audience,” noted AccentHealth VP market research Natalie Hill. Half of adults younger than 40 years reported they will receive the shot this year.

Importantly, the recent AccentHealth study also confirmed that more patients continue to embrace the community pharmacy as a preferred destination for flu vaccinations, with nearly 1-in-4 having received or planning to receive a flu shot in a retail pharmacy setting this year.

Again, there is a still plenty of room for improvement. The glass-half-empty view focuses on the more than 40% of patients who won’t get a flu shot this year; a recent online survey conducted by CVS Caremark suggested this group could be as high as 51%. However, AccentHealth data suggest some areas where community pharmacy may be able to chip away at the resistance. “Those who do not receive the flu shot most often indicate that it is unnecessary and/or due to side effects or the fear of side effects caused by the vaccine,” Hill explained. 

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to

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