Survey: Majority of Workers Plan to Get Flu Shot
More than 60 percent of American workers plan to get a flu shot this year, according to the latest online poll by LifeCare Inc., a Shelton, Conn.-based provider of health and productivity solutions for employers nationwide. Twenty-six percent said they will forgo getting a shot, but that is a lower percentage than polls from other sources have reported. Last November, Consumer Reports Health reported that its survey on the same topic showed that just 52 percent of Americans planned to get the flu vaccine, despite its being the best option for prevention. And last August, a survey by Joint Commission Resources Inc. revealed that only 42 percent of health care workers themselves said they received a flu vaccination.
LifeCare conducted its poll during the month of July on its private Web site, www.lifecare.com. The company asked simply, "Do you plan to get a flu shot this year?" and the responses were as follows:
- Yes, my employer offers this as an onsite wellness benefit – 40%
- Yes, I intend to get it at my doctor's office – 21%
- No – 26%
- No, but I would if my employer offered it – 13%
"With flu season approaching, it's not too early for employers to begin educating workers on the importance of protecting themselves and their coworkers against the unnecessary spread of seasonal flu," said LifeCare CEO Peter G. Burki. "Once again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu. We're encouraging all of our clients to post the CDC's 'Take Three' prevention guidelines throughout their work sites." These guidelines can be found on CDC's Web site at www.cdc.gov/flu.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common during that year's flu season; it does not protect against novel H1N1 infection. Vaccination is especially important for people at greater risk of serious flu complications. These people typically include young children, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease.