Many Americans Do Not Plan to Receive Flu Vaccination

Misconceptions are key reason for this; however, nearly all physicians intend to be vaccinated
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Almost all physicians plan to get vaccinated against influenza this season and most also discuss the vaccine with patients. However, more than 40 percent of Americans in general do not plan to get vaccinated this season, many of whom have misconceptions about the vaccine or the disease, according to survey results announced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) at an Oct. 7 news conference.

The survey results revealed that more than two-thirds of Americans are aware of the new universal influenza vaccination recommendation. Fifty-seven percent of Americans plan to be vaccinated this influenza season, with adults 65 years and older having the highest intent to vaccinate and adults 45 to 54 years of age having the lowest intent to vaccinate. Of those individuals who do not plan on getting vaccinated, misconceptions and "magical thinking" represent the key reasons, according to the CDC.

The survey findings also revealed that 65 percent of mothers indicate a positive intent to have children vaccinated this season but that 33 percent are unlikely to vaccinate their children. In addition, 95 percent of physicians have been or intend to get vaccinated this season, 96 percent of doctors recommend influenza vaccination to their family and friends, and 92 percent discuss the vaccine with their patients.

"Patients rely on their doctors as role models for influenza vaccination. Now we need to get other health care professionals to move in this same direction -- to all nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others -- please, get vaccinated and recommend the vaccine to your patients," president of NFID, William Schaffner, M.D., of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Memphis, Tenn., said in a statement.

The news conference was supported in part through unrestricted educational grants to NFID from Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Merck and Co. Inc., Novartis Vaccines, Pfizer Inc., Sanofi Pasteur, and Walgreens.

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