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New survey: Flu shot still not catching on, especially at retail clinics


CHICAGO — According to a new survey by leading market research firm Synovate, less than half of Americans (42%) received the flu vaccine during the past six months. Of those, only 10% received it at a pharmacy and just 4% received it at a retail clinic.

Although there is a much higher rate of flu vaccination among older Americans 65+ (80%), especially compared to those in younger age groups, this is still lower than the federal government’s target of 90% flu immunization for the elderly.

“While most older Americans have accepted the importance of the flu shot, adoption among those who are younger is still quite low,” said Terri Crudup, Vice President for Synovate’s Healthcare practice. “This is likely because the messages they’ve heard have focused on the elderly and those working with people who are ill - such as hospital workers - needing it more than the general population.”

Among respondents with at least one dependent in their household, less than half (42%) report that their dependent(s) received the flu vaccine in the past six months, and the majority of them (74%) obtained the flu vaccine from their pediatrician’s office.

Of those who had obtained the flu vaccine in the past six months, the majority report having received the vaccine either from their doctor’s office (43%) or from their employer (23%). Pharmacies and retail clinics in large stores were less popular venues, especially among those aged 18 to 44, suggesting either low patient awareness or low acceptance of such venues for healthcare access.

“Even though retail clinics are actively advertising their ability to give the flu vaccine, it’s clear that people are not often using them for that purpose,” said Crudup. “This may be because they don’t trust retail clinics, they think that their health insurance will only cover the flu vaccine if it’s obtained at a doctor’s office and / or that they receive their flu shot when they’re visiting the doctor for another reason.”

Not surprisingly, people in the lowest annual household income bracket (under $25K) are significantly less likely to obtain the flu vaccine compared to those in higher income brackets.

The survey was conducted by Synovate Healthcare via Synovate’s Omnibus service with a nationally representative sample of 879 heads of household ages 18+ during January 2009.

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,000 staff across 62 countries.

For more information on Synovate visit


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