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Walgreens survey: 42% of U.S. adults lack knowledge about recommended vaccinations


DEERFIELD, Ill. — It seems that many U.S. adults are unaware of what inoculations are government-recommended vaccinations, while more than half are not diligent about regular checkups with their primary care physician, according to a Walgreens survey.

In a study of 1,035 adults ages 18 years and older conducted online through Omnibus last October, Walgreens found that 42% of adults were unaware of what vaccinations are part of the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, while 36% believed they have knowledge of only some of the recommendations and 53% of respondents did not get regular checkups with their primary care physician. Despite these figures, the survey also found that 71% said they are up-to-date with their vaccination schedule.

"If people aren't going to the doctor or talking regularly with a pharmacist, nurse practitioner or other healthcare professional, it would be difficult to know what immunizations they may be due or overdue for," said Jeff Kang, Walgreens SVP pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. "This also shows the opportunity to educate consumers because while many are interested in knowing, they just aren't getting this type of health information."

When it came to which health conditions concerned them most, the survey found flu ranked highest for concern among respondents, with 27% worried about it — 75% of whom said they've received a flu shot as a preventive measure. Meanwhile, 13% were concerned about pneumonia (51% of whom had been vaccinated), 10% were worried about shingles (22% had been vaccinated) and 8% were worried about hepatitis (43% had been vaccinated). Meningitis, whooping cough and measles/mumps also were mentioned, Walgreens said. However, 30% of respondents indicated no concern about any of the diseases/illnesses.

Walgreens said that the lack of knowledge was the most common answer as to why those that expressed concern over contracting the aforementioned diseases and illnesses were not immunized. Sixty-seven percent said they didn't have enough information to get the meningitis vaccine, followed by pneumonia (48%), shingles (39%) and hepatitis (30%). According to a February CDC report, at least 45,000 American adults die each year of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

Walgreens underscored that many of its pharmacies and all Take Care Clinics offer a wide range of CDC-recommended immunizations, including flu, pneumonia, Zostavax (shingles), Tdap (whooping cough), Td (tetanus/diphtheria), meningitis, varicella (chicken pox), hepatitis A/B, MMR and many others. State-, age- and health-condition-related restrictions may apply.

"Awareness and education are the first steps in helping people understand the importance of preventive health, and immunizations are a big part of that," Kang said. "These services are now widely covered by insurers. With an expansive network of immunizing pharmacists and nurse practitioners in Walgreens stores, we're providing greater access to vaccinations and other healthcare services and bridging a critical gap in health care today. More than 60% of Take Care Clinic patients don't have a primary care physician yet do have health insurance."

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