Oct. 14, 2010 -- Many people who are at high risk for the flu -- including health care workers -- say they won't be getting a flu shot this year, a Consumer Reports survey shows.
This year's vaccine protects against the seasonal and H1N1 swine flu. The CDC now recommends flu vaccines for everyone older than 6 months. But the survey of 1,500 adults aged 18 or older shows that many don't plan on heeding this advice.
The findings echo those of a series of surveys by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, which showed that 43% of Americans won't get the flu shot this year, and that one-third of moms won’t vaccinate their kids.
In the new poll, 28% of health care workers said they didn't plan on getting the flu vaccine this year. Just 45% of people who were considered at risk for the flu said they would get vaccinated this year, meaning a majority of people with diseases that place them at high risk for the flu and flu-related complications won't get a flu shot.
People aged 65 and older are considered at high risk for flu based on their age, but just 51% said they plan on getting the flu vaccine this year.
When asked why they were skipping the flu vaccine, 45% of people polled cited that the swine flu epidemic was overblown last year, 44% said they were concerned about the side effects of the flu vaccine, 41% were concerned about its safety, and close to 30% felt the flu vaccine doesn't work anyway.
"I thought that a considerably higher number of people would want to get the flu vaccine," says Marvin Lipman, MD, chief medical adviser for Consumer Reports. "There are varied excuses and a lot has to do with the confusion and publicity that had everyone running to get swine flu vaccines last year," he says. "A lot of people felt that last year's publicity about the swine flu was overblown and therefore are not going to get the flu shot this year," he tells WebMD.