WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccine every year, just over half (51%) of the respondents to a consumer survey conducted by CVS/pharmacy say they do not plan to get a flu shot this season. The top reasons consumers cite in the survey for not getting vaccinated are being worried about potential side effects of a flu shot and not being sure that flu shots are effective.
However, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the first and best way to protect yourself against influenza. Also, the flu shot cannot give people the flu because the viruses used in the vaccine are inactivated. Possible minor side effects include soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given or a low grade fever that usually lasts 1 to 2 days. Almost all people who receive a flu shot have no serious problems from it.
"The benefits of receiving a flu shot far outweigh possible minor side effects," said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Services at CVS/pharmacy. "Influenza causes between 3,600 to 49,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. annually. Receiving a flu shot can reduce the chance of becoming infected by up to 70%."
Another key finding from the CVS/pharmacy survey is that convenience is a major driver in a consumer's decision about where to get their flu shot. Among respondents who received a flu shot last season, 35% cited convenience as their top reason in choosing a location to get vaccinated and more than two-thirds (67%) of those who received a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy said convenience was their top reason for choosing CVS/pharmacy.
CVS/pharmacy continues to provide convenient access to flu vaccinations this season. More than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy stores and nearly 600 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS locations provide flu shots every day including evenings and weekends, no appointment needed.
Respondents to the CVS/pharmacy survey also indicated that health insurance is an important factor in their decision to get a flu shot with 72% of respondents saying the ability to use insurance coverage for their flu shot was one of their top three factors and 44% of respondents saying that health insurance was their top factor.
CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic accept many health plans, including Medicare Part B and TRICARE, which typically cover the full cost of a flu shot. Direct medical billing for many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot is also available.
This flu season, customers will receive a 20% Off CVS/pharmacy Shopping Pass when they get a flu shot at CVS or MinuteClinic. The Shopping Pass can be used with CVS/pharmacy's ExtraCare card to save 20% off non-pharmacy purchases up to $100.*
In addition to the regular seasonal flu shot, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic will offer patients the option to receive Fluzone® High-Dose or Fluzone® Intradermal vaccine at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic this season. The High-Dose vaccine contains four times the antigens as the seasonal flu vaccine. It is intended for people 65 and older to provide better protection for this age group, who are at greater risk of developing severe illness from the flu. The Intradermal vaccine is approved for patients ages 18-64 and has a 90% smaller needle than the regular flu shot. It injects the vaccine just under the skin instead of into the muscle.
Findings are from an online survey of 2,710 adults ages 18 and older conducted by Kantum Research on behalf of CVS/pharmacy during March 2012.
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://info.cvscaremark.com/.
*Normal ExtraCare purchase restrictions apply for 20% Off Shopping Pass. ExtraCare card is not required in the state of HI. Offer is not valid in the states of NJ and NY. Shopping Pass is not available at MinuteClinic in the states of MA, NJ and NY. Flu shots are available when immunizing pharmacist or MinuteClinic nurse practitioner is on duty, while supplies last.