Consumer Attitudes About the Flu Vaccine

The decision to receive the flu vaccine is a highly personal one, yet it also has an impact locally and nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the 2014-2015 flu season alone, the influenza vaccine prevented:

  • 5 million flu illnesses

  • 2.5 million medical visits

  • 71,000 hospitalizations

To better understand consumer attitudes about the flu vaccine, CVS Health conducted a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and over in July, 2017. The survey found that nearly two-thirds of Americans get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year, a two percent increase from the previous year’s survey findings. Of those who plan to get a flu vaccine, 67 percent do so because they believe it’s the best way to prevent the flu.

Protecting Yourself from the Flu

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. And although 52 percent of Americans protect themselves from catching the flu by getting the flu vaccine, our poll also found that 65 percent of employed respondents would still go to work even if they were feeling ill with flu-like symptoms, making it more important than ever to get vaccinated.

“People may not realize that it can actually take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity,” said Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at MinuteClinic. “For this reason, CVS Pharmacy actually recommends that patients get their flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available to ensure you have the best protection before flu season peaks. Additionally, influenza strains tend to change each year, so it’s very important to get vaccinated every year to make sure you are protected.”

Among those who have ever received a flu vaccine, 44 percent say they most often get the vaccine from their primary care provider or other health care professional, while 22 percent most often get it from a local pharmacy or drugstore.

Other notable findings from the survey include:

  • Women are 12 percent more likely than men to get their flu vaccine from their primary care physician or other health care professional’s office

  • 76 percent of seniors (age 65 and up) get the flu vaccine every year and/or plan on getting the flu shot this year

  • For Americans who have ever gotten a flu shot, fall months are still the most popular time to get the vaccine, with October being the most popular month (36 percent)

For more poll results, download our “What’s New With the Flu?” infographic.

Flu vaccinations are conveniently available seven days a week at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide with no appointment needed. Visit and/or for more information and additional resources.