Many people say they don't plan to get the flu vaccine this season, and common excuses for not getting a flu shot are "a mix of facts and fallacies," according to a survey by Consumer Reports.


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Flu shot excuses 'mix fact and fallacy,' Consumer Reports says

January 19th, 2011

YONKERS, N.Y. – Many people say they don't plan to get the flu vaccine this season, and common excuses for not getting a flu shot are "a mix of facts and fallacies," according to a survey by Consumer Reports.

The consumer advocacy journal said Wednesday that in its recent poll, only 45% of respondents deemed "at health risk" definitely plan to get a flu vaccination for this flu season. That percentage compares with results from the previous season, when 55% of adults didn't get flu immunizations, Consumer Reports said.

Of the top five flu shot excuses, 60% of people surveyed said "I believe in building my natural immunity," and 41% remarked that "I don't get the flu."

Meanwhile, 38% of respondents not planning to get immunized said, "Medicines and other remedies can treat the flu." Yet Consumer Reports noted that despite the plethora of over-the-counter flu remedies available at pharmacies, most are only mildly effective at easing flu symptoms. It also pointed out that antiviral prescription drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) only can make flu symptoms less severe and shorten the duration by a day or two, and to work they must be started within two days of the onset of symptoms.

Other excuses centered on the flu shot itself. Among those polled, 36% said that "I worry about side effects or getting the flu from the vaccine," to which Consumer Reports commented that the immunization's inactived virus can't cause the flu and that the shot's benefits against illness "far outweigh" its risks.

Also, 24% of people admitted that "I don't like shots," in which case Consumer Reports suggested they ask their doctor if they could take the nasal spray flu vaccine instead.

The Consumer Reports findings echo the results of a recent CVS/pharmacy Flu Review survey.

CVS Caremark Corp. said last week that its poll showed that 56% of respondents still have not received a flu shot, even though 93% said they're aware that there already have been reported cases of flu this season. Also, 37% incorrectly thought that getting a flu shot could give you the flu.

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