With record-breaking hospitalization rates for widespread influenza activity, the 2017-2018 flu season marked one of the worst in years. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza began increasing in November, reached an extended period of high activity during January and February, and remained elevated through March.https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm The extended impact of last year’s flu serves as a timely and critical reminder for Americans to protect themselves and their families ahead of the 2018-2019 season.
In fact, a new survey from CVS Health found that more than 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 makes them more likely to get vaccinated this year. And 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. Given that it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity, and that flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours, it is important to get vaccinated early to protect against the spread of influenza.
Consumer Attitudes about the Flu Vaccine
The annual flu survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Pharmacy, also found that two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year – a five percent increase from last year's survey findings.
Furthermore, when asked about the factors that determine where to go for a flu vaccine, consumers prioritize doctors' opinions (39 percent), where insurance is accepted (38 percent), and convenience (33 percent). 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 conveniently available seven days a week, with no appointment needed.
Protecting Yourself from the Flu
Reinforcing the importance of protecting against the spread of influenza, the survey also revealed that flu-like symptoms haven’t stopped many Americans from going out in public. For example, 28 percent reported going to the supermarket and 12 percent reported picking up a child from school with symptoms.
The 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. CVS Pharmacy can provide flu shots to adolescents (in some states, depending on regulations), adults and seniors, and 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.
For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve access to quality care across the nation, visit our Quality & Access information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.