New national data analyzed by University of Georgia researchers shows Americans are split on annual flu shot, with only half receiving the vaccine in 2016.
The report notes four out of 10 received the flu shot in the past year and approximately half said they already received or were planning to get the vaccine this year.
Many choose not to receive the vaccine due to shot’s effectiveness fluctuating from one flu season to the next, according to the report. However, their decision not to vaccinate has consequences beyond keeping them healthy, said Glen Nowak, a professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of Grady’s Center for Health and Risk Communication.
“Your flu vaccination helps protect other people from flu, including both really young and older family members who are more vulnerable to severe illness,” Nowak said. “There’s evidence that the vaccine is often most effective in healthy adults 18 to 49, so by them being vaccinated they not only protect themselves from the flu, but they can help reduce the transmission of flu to others.”
As of October, less than 10 percent of 30- to 59-year-olds and only 5 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds had received a flu shot, and only 13 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 18 percent of 30- to 44-year-olds and 30 percent of 45- to 49-year-olds said they were planning to get one. Two out of three people over the age of 60 were planning to or already had received the shot in October.