Despite increased public discussion about the importance of being vaccinated against the flu, this year's seasonal influenza vaccination rate for adults will likely mirror last year's, according to a new RAND Corp. report.
Vaccination levels likely to hold steady: report
RAND, under contract with flu-vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, surveyed 5,679 adults online and over the telephone in mid November, and found that 32% had received a seasonal flu vaccine—compared with 30% of adults who had been vaccinated by November 2008. Another 17% said they intended to be vaccinated before this flu season was over. (A similar survey conducted this past March found that about 38% of adults received a vaccination during the 2008-09 flu season.)
“It does not appear that the increased public discussion of the role of influenza vaccines has had a significant impact on the public's behavior,” said Katherine Harris, a RAND senior economist and the study's lead author, in a news release. “Most of the results from our latest survey look much like those from last year.”
Although fewer than half had received it, healthcare workers' 49% vaccination rate was the highest among populations specifically recommended for getting the vaccination. Another 12% said they intended to get one.
In other recommend populations, 44% of those with high-risk health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart or lung diseases) reported being vaccinated with another 20% saying they intended to be; 43% of adults age 50 and older received the vaccine and 19% said they intended to; and 35% of those who have regular contact with a high-risk person said they were vaccinated and 20% said they intended to be.
Half of those with lung disease said they had been vaccinated and another 24% said they planned to be. Similarly, half of those with heart disease had been vaccinated and another 21% intended to be, while 47% of diabetics had been vaccinated with 28% intending to be.
Among those not intending to get vaccinated, 22% said they didn't need it, 21% said they didn't “believe in flu vaccines,” 17% were concerned about the vaccine making them sick or causing side effects, 7% said others need it more than they do, and the rest gave various other reasons such as cost and time factors.
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