56% of Americans Skipped the Flu Shot

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – The good news is that there’s no shortage of flu vaccines this year. The bad news is that not many people are getting them.

According to a new study by CVS/pharmacy, 56% of Americans have yet to receive a flu shot, despite the fact that the flu season began in the late fall and runs through early spring. While CVS obviously has a vested interest in encouraging people to get vaccinated – the pharmacy chain offers in-store flu shots at all of its locations – the poll results are still surprising. Just one year after a swine flu outbreak gripped the U.S. in a panic, most Americans seem to be taking a relatively lackadaisical approach to the new season, even after the swine flu was included in this year’s general flu vaccination.

This is in part due to the medical consensus that swine flu – the colloquial term for the H1N1 virus – is no longer a threat. But there also seem to be a few misconceptions contributing to the trend of under-vaccination. Nearly a third of survey respondents believed that the flu season had already peaked in November or December, despite the fact that 50% of all flu cases occur in February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 37% bought into the persistent myth that the flu shot can give you the flu (in fact, only the inhalable flu vaccine has been shown to cause illness, and only in rare cases).

This year’s flu shot can be obtained at CVS or Walgreens for $30, and Rite Aid offers shots at their clinics for $25.

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