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CVS Health Survey Finds Consumers More Likely to Get Vaccinated Following Last Year's Record Breaking Flu Season

August 14, 2018 | Pharmacy

22 percent of those surveyedU.S. adults surveyed who did not get a flu shot last year say that knowledge of last year's severe flu season makes them more likely to get a flu shot this year

Flu vaccine now available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Aug. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking the start of flu vaccine availability, a new survey from CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) released today found that one in five (22 percent) of consumers surveyed who didn't get a flu vaccine last year say that knowledge of last year's flu season which had flu levels that were the highest observed since 2009 makes them more likely to get vaccinated this year. On a similar note, among the 27 percent of parents of children under 18 whose child did not get the flu vaccine last year, 26 percent say they are more likely to get their child vaccinated this year after learning about the notably high flu levels during last year's flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is eligible and at least six months old get a flu shot when the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October. To ensure that patients are able to get the flu shot as soon as possible, all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide now have the vaccine available.

The annual flu survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Pharmacy in July 2018Survey was conducted in the United States by The Harris Poll on July 12-16, 2018, among 2,020 adults ages 18 and older. among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+, also found that two-thirds (66 percent) of those surveyed get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year, a five percent increase from last year's survey findingsPlease note that the 2017 and 2018 surveys were run using different sample sources. YOY changes could be due in part to sample source variations and not solely changes in respondent behavior..

"Many people are looking for ways to stay healthy, especially during cold and flu season," said Papatya Tankut, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs at CVS Health. "This has led to an increase in those who are planning to get a flu shot this year, and we're hoping this results in fewer flu cases. CVS Pharmacy continues to be a partner in helping our customers combat the flu and helping them focus on their overall health in a way that works for them particularly in terms of convenience, access and affordability."

Doctors' opinions (39 percent), where insurance is accepted (38 percent), and convenience (33 percent) continue to rank among the top three factors in determining where to go for a flu shot among patients who have received a flu vaccine. Among the same group, the percentage who get vaccinated within a pharmacy stayed the same as last year at 22 percent, but there is a shift for those employed adults who get vaccinated at their workplace (previously 22 percent, now 15 percent) and those who get vaccinated by their primary care provider or other health care professional (previously 44 percent, now 48 percent).

Flu vaccinations are conveniently available seven days a week at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide with no appointment needed.Flu shots are available when immunizing pharmacist, MinuteClinic nurse practitioner or physician assistant is on duty, while supplies last. Age restrictions apply. CVS Pharmacy can provide flu shots to adolescents (in some states, depending on regulations), adults and seniors. MinuteClinic can provide flu shots to children 18 months and up, adolescents, adults and seniors, making it easy to vaccinate the whole family in one trip.Vaccinations vary by state based on regulations. Age restrictions apply. In addition, customers will receive a $5 off $25 coupon when they get a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic. Patients who receive a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations inside select Target stores will receive a $5 Target coupon.Offer available 8/13/18 12/31/18. You will receive a merchandise coupon valid for 1-time use at CVS Pharmacy locations. Terms and conditions apply to coupon use and redemption. See coupon for additional details. $5 savings applied to total qualifying minimum purchase of $25 (after other coupons and discounts are applied). Offer not valid in pharmacy locations in AR, NJ and NY. Offer not valid at MinuteClinic locations in MA, NJ, NY, PA and RI. Limit 1 per customer.

Up two percent from last year, 67 percent of those surveyed would still go to work if they were feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. The biggest reason for going into the office among those who would go with the flu is not wanting to use paid time off (44 percent), while 38 percent are worried about lost wages. 37 percent say that they go to work simply because their company and/or boss would expect them to come in.

Other notable findings from the survey include:

  • Flu-like symptoms haven't stopped some people from going out in public:
    • 28 percent have gone to the supermarket
    • 12 percent have even picked up a child from school/daycare
    • 10 percent have taken public transport
  • Washing hands has long been touted as an effective way to stop the spread of germs 75 percent of those surveyed choose to do this as often as possible (up five percent from last year); other top methods include:
    • 55 percent drink more water
    • 50 percent take vitamins
    • 50 percent regularly use hand sanitizer
    • 50 percent wipe down surfaces with sanitizing wipes

"Surprising to many, it can actually take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity," said Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at MinuteClinic. "Because of this, CVS Pharmacy recommends patients get their flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available to ensure patients are the most protected before flu season peaks. Furthermore, influenza strains tend to change each year, so it's very important to get vaccinated annually to make sure you are protected."

The flu vaccine is a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic can directly bill many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot.

Consumers can visit and/or for more information and additional resources. They can also visit or use the CVS Pharmacy app to locate a nearby CVS Pharmacy. Patients planning to go to MinuteClinic to get their flu shot can visit to view wait times or schedule a visit online for a future date at their chosen clinic.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States between July 12-16, 2018 among 2,020 adults aged 18+ by The Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Pharmacy. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Please note that the 2017 and 2018 surveys were run using different sample sources. Year-over-year changes could be due in part to sample source variations and not solely changes in respondent behavior. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Amy Lanctot at

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,800 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 94 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at


Amy Lanctot