A new survey from CVS/pharmacy found that three in five U.S. adults (61 percent) are unaware of the importance of the high dose flu vaccine in flu prevention for adults 65 years and older.
The high dose vaccine contains four times the antigens as the regular flu vaccine and is intended to create a stronger immune response for seniors, who are at greater risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses.
According to a survey conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CVS/pharmacy in July 2014 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+, nearly one in three (30 percent) Americans have a role in helping an elderly family member or loved one aged 65 years or older make healthcare decisions, reinforcing the importance of the general population to be aware of the availability of the high dose flu vaccine.
“Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to help prevent the spread of influenza, especially for seniors who are more susceptible to developing complications from the flu,” said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs, CVS Caremark. “The results of our consumer survey indicate the need for greater awareness among all Americans to understand the benefits of getting vaccinated and assisting older loved ones in making the decision, as well.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is at least 6 months old get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available.
The survey has also found that among Americans who have ever received a flu shot, more than one-third (35 percent) indicated that convenience plays a major role in their decision about where to get the vaccination.
Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) are unaware that the flu vaccine is a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B.
Additional key findings from the survey include:
- Two-thirds (67 percent) of employed Americans would go to work even if they were feeling ill with flu-like symptoms.
- Less than half (44 percent) of those who receive a flu vaccine each year get it administered at a primary care physician’s office. According to CVS/pharmacy’s 2013 consumer survey about flu, which revealed 61 percent of U.S. adults who ever received a flu shot have ever received their vaccination at a primary care physician’s office, this is on the decline.1
- Three-fifths (59 percent) indicated they plan to get the flu shot this year.
- According to the CDC, it is estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.
- With this in mind, 63 percent of those 65 and older would consider getting a high-dose flu vaccine.
- Nearly three in five (58 percent) of those aged 18-64 indicate they would recommend the high dose vaccine to someone 65 and older.