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Many consumers still iffy about the flu shot

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The impact of negative coverage of the effectiveness of last year’s seasonal flu vaccine may be carrying over into this flu season.

A study by health consumer analytics firm Treato and online media specialist MediaMiser found that people — especially parents — are highly skeptical of this year’s flu shot, despite efforts by the media to endorse the efficacy of this year’s vaccine.

flu shot patient_WalgreensThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of course, continues to recommend a flu vaccination for those ages 6 months and older as the best way to help prevent coming down with influenza.

Illustrating this disconnect, most commenters in online forums still held deep reservations about flu shot side effects, mistrust of government vaccine recommendations and Big Pharma profit motives, the Treato-MediaMiser analysis revealed. What’s more, the media’s positive take on this year’s flu vaccine didn’t seem to affect consumers’ discussions online, since they didn’t regularly source media articles within posts, according to the study.

Of consumers surveyed, 38% said they heard that last year’s flu shot was less effective than normal, and 24% reported that the reason they didn’t get the flu shot was because of concerns about its effectiveness. Yet worries about side effects was the No. 1 reason respondents said they didn’t get the flu shot this year. Effectiveness was the most-mentioned issue in media coverage, followed by accessibility and children’s related issues, the study found.

Among consumers who got a flu shot, 49% said they did so at the doctor’s office, and 19% got vaccinated at a pharmacy. Another 15% received their flu shot at the workplace, and 11% were immunized at a health clinic.

The study showed that age plays a big role in terms of getting a flu shot. Half of those polled who got the flu shot this year but didn’t do so last year, were over age 55. And those who get the flu vaccine are committed to it: 71% of respondents who got the flu shot this year also received one last year.

Unsurprisingly, brand recognition among flu vaccine providers is scant. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed who go the flu shot this year didn’t know the name of the vaccine they received.

Check out the chart below to see some more of the survey’s results.

Treato MediaMiser Flu Vaccine Study


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