One-Third of the General Public Has Received Their Flu Shots

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- This year, most people who say they were concerned they might get the flu say they armed themselves with a flu shot, according to results of a recent Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Healthcare Poll. Nevertheless, perhaps because public information about vaccination has increased the demand, there are others who tried, but failed, to get themselves or their children vaccinated.

This poll of 1,792 U.S. adults nationwide was conducted online Dec. 18-22, 2003 by Harris Interactive for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.

Comparing getting the flu shot and getting the flu last winter (2002-2003):

-- Of the largest and youngest age group of adults who say they had the

flu last year (25 percent), nine percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they were

vaccinated with flu shots.

-- Of the oldest group and one perceived to be at risk, only nine percent

of those over 65 who were vaccinated (78 percent) say they had the flu last

year.

Experience with flu vaccine this fall/winter:

-- Most adults (41 percent) who say they were concerned that they might get the

flu this fall/winter say they got a flu vaccine shot (38 percent).

-- But there are some disturbing statistics: 5 percent of adults

say they tried and failed to get a flu shot for themselves. The number

doubled for those who say they tried and failed to get a flu

shot for a child.

Effectiveness and availability of flu vaccine this year:

-- By a two to one margin, a majority (53 percent) says that the effectiveness

of the flu vaccine is excellent (11 percent) or pretty good (42 percent) vs. 28 percent

who say it is only fair (23 percent) or poor (5 percent).

-- The public appears reasonably satisfied with the distribution and

availability of flu vaccine this year: 57 percent say that the health care

system has done an excellent (17 percent) or pretty good (40 percent) job in

distributing and making the vaccine available this year while 32% rate

the job as only fair (21 percent) or poor (11 percent).

"This is a multifaceted portrait of the public on flu and flu vaccine. Most people think that flu vaccine is really pretty good and that has helped to increase the demand. However, a bigger story is that many millions of people have tried, and, for whatever reasons, failed to get flu vaccine shots for themselves and their children this year," says Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll at Harris Interactive. "It is unfortunate to have public information urging people to get themselves protected if supply does not measure up to demand."

Source: Harris Interactive

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