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CVS Health survey: More consumers likely to get flu shot this season

A new online survey from CVS Health found that 1-in-5, or 22%, of consumers who didn't get a flu vaccine last year said that knowing that flu levels last year were the highest since 2009 makes them more likely to get vaccinated this year.

Among the 27% of parents of children under 18 years old whose child did not get the flu vaccine last year, 26% said they are more likely to get their child vaccinated this year after learning about last year's high flu levels.

The annual flu survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Pharmacy in July 2018 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years old and older, also found that two-thirds of those surveyed get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year, a 5% increase from last year's survey findings.

The study also found that 67% of those surveyed would still go to work if they had flu-like symptoms. The biggest reason for going into the office among those who would go with the flu is not wanting to use paid time off (44%), while 38% are concerned about lost wages. Slightly more than two thirds (37%) said that they go to work because their company and/or boss would expect them to come in.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends that everyone who is eligible and at least six months old get a flu shot when the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October.

"Many people are looking for ways to stay healthy, especially during cold and flu season," CVS Health vice president of pharmacy affairs Papatya Tankut said. "This has led to an increase in those who are planning to get a flu shot this year, and we're hoping this results in fewer flu cases."

Doctors' opinions (39%), where insurance is accepted (38%), and convenience (33%) continue to rank among the top three factors in determining where to go for a flu shot among patients who have received a flu vaccine. Among the same group, the percentage who get vaccinated within a pharmacy stayed the same as last year at 22%, but there is a shift for those employed adults who get vaccinated at their workplace (previously 22%, now 15%) and those who get vaccinated by their primary care provider or other healthcare professional (previously 44%, now 48%), according to the survey.

Flu vaccinations are available seven days a week at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide with no appointment needed. CVS Pharmacy can provide flu shots to adolescents — in some states, depending on regulations — adults and seniors. MinuteClinic can provide flu shots to children 18 months old and older, adolescents, adults and seniors.

Customers will receive a $5 off $25 coupon when they get a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic. Patients who receive a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations inside select Target stores will receive a $5 Target coupon.

"Surprising to many, it can actually take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity," Minute Clinic chief nurse practitioner officer Angela Patterson said in a press statement.

"Because of this, CVS Pharmacy recommends patients get their flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available to ensure patients are the most protected before flu season peaks. Furthermore, influenza strains tend to change each year, so it's very important to get vaccinated annually to make sure you are protected."
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