Almost Half of Americans Say They Won't Get Flu Shot

According to a new survey from Consumer Reports Health, just 52 percent of Americans plan to get the flu vaccine this year, despite its being the best option for prevention.

The Consumer Reports Health survey uncovered a long list of poor excuses for not getting the vaccine, including 5 percent of people who say they would rather get sick than go to work. The vaccine is available for free for many (65 percent of those who have already been vaccinated reported no out-of-pocket expense for the vaccine), and at nominal cost for others, and requires very little time. The survey was conducted in early October by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, right as the flu season was getting underway this fall. Flu season typically begins in late October and can run through early May. Sixty-seven percent said it was better to build your own natural immunities.

"There is no evidence that people who get flu shots have lower natural immunities or that people who don't get flu shots have higher immunities," said John Santa, M.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

Those surveyed cited the following other reasons for not getting the vaccine: They do not get sick (45 percent), they have themselves or know someone who has gotten sick from the vaccine (41 percent), or they believe the vaccine is ineffective (26 percent). Other consumers not planning to get a flu vaccination said that they were worried about side effects (35 percent), medication is now available to treat the flu (28%), they don't like getting shots (27 percent), or they don't like going to the doctor (23 percent). And some (5 percent) even said that they'd rather get sick than go to work.

"Sounds like a lot of excuses and misconceptions to avoid a quick and inexpensive, if not free, shot," Santa said.

The full survey results are available online at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.

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