Most people think flu shots help ward off influenza, yet many of those same individuals don't end up getting immunized, a new survey from Safeway Inc. finds.

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Safeway poll: Not everyone who believes in flu shots gets one

September 7th, 2011

NEW YORK – Most people think flu shots help ward off influenza, yet many of those same individuals don't end up getting immunized, a new survey from Safeway Inc. finds.

The Safeway Seasonal Wellness Survey revealed that 60% of Americans believe that flu vaccinations are effective in preventing the flu. However, only 51% actually plan to get a flu shot this season.

Of the 1,000 adults responding to the online poll, 26% cited convenience and cost as the factors most likely to prevent them from getting a flu immunization this year, Safeway reported. Meanwhile, 39% said it's more important to get a flu vaccine now than it was five years ago.

Safeway said the survey, conducted in early August by Kelton Research, also indicated that supermarkets are more convenient than other retailers for getting a flu shot because consumers are already shopping at grocery stores on a regular basis for food and other household needs. Among those polled, 49% said they visit grocery stores most often in an average month versus discount stores and drug stores, whereas 8% said they visit drug stores most often.

The food and drug retailer noted that by offering flu injections, nasal mist and high-dose flu vaccines on a walk-in basis, it's easy for consumers to avoid taking extra time to book flu shot appointments and make out-of-the-way trips for flu prevention needs. Safeway said its pharmacists are administering flu vaccines in more than 1,100 Safeway, Vons/Pavilions, Carrs, Dominick's, Genuardi's and Tom Thumb/Randalls stores with pharmacies nationwide, and flu shots are available during weekday and weekend hours, when most people do their grocery shopping.

"Safeway is removing the barriers to health and wellness by offering flu shots in our Safeway Community Pharmacies in stores where people are already shopping most often, and where they have easy access to an abundance of nutritious foods and other items to keep their families healthy," Darren Singer, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Safeway, said in a statement. "Safeway's flu shot program is just one example of our broader commitment to make wellness an easily attainable and convenient part of people's everyday lives."

In addition, Safeway said it's offering a 10% discount coupon for groceries with each flu vaccine to add extra value to its flu shot proposition by helping shoppers avoid the cost and time to visit their doctor for a flu shot.

"As a pharmacist and a busy mom, I know that it’s not always easy to put your health first. Sometimes, an ounce of prevention is difficult to achieve with full schedules of family activities and holiday events," stated Risa Vatanka, a pharmacist and immunization specialist at Safeway. "By offering flu shots in our pharmacies, Safeway can help people get more done in one trip to the grocery store."

Safeway pharmacists have given more than 5 million shots over the past decade to shoppers during their trips to the grocery store, according to the retailer. Its immunization services also include vaccines for whooping cough, shingles, pneumococcal disease, meningitis, hepatitis A/B and human papilloma virus (HPV).