WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent CVS/pharmacy survey shows that while consumers are concerned about picking up germs, they are not doing all they can to protect themselves and their loved ones from the flu, including receiving an annual flu shot as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC recommends that anyone ages 6 months or older should get a flu shot, including those who were vaccinated last flu season. Despite this recommendation, 42 percent of respondents are not planning on getting a flu shot this year.
Everyday preventive actions such as hand washing can stop the spread of germs, yet are not always practiced. Although nearly all respondents (99 percent) said they almost always wash their hands after using a restroom, only 70 percent do so after blowing their nose. Seventy-six percent of respondents have gone to work with cold- or flu-like symptoms.
"It's always important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze, and avoid contact with those who are sick, but the number one thing you can do to prevent the flu is get a flu shot," said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Services, CVS/pharmacy.
Misinformation about flu shots may contribute to the number of people who do not get vaccinated. The CVS/pharmacy survey revealed the following misconceptions:
- Half of respondents (49 percent) think flu shots are mainly for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions, despite the CDC's recommendation that everyone ages 6 months and over should get an annual flu shot.
- 35% believe flu shots can give people the flu, which is not true because the viruses used in the flu shot are inactivated.
- 25% do not think flu shots work very well, even though the flu shot provides you with the best possible protection from catching the flu.
- 22% think flu shots can protect people for up to two years, but a flu shot is needed annually because the immunity provided by the vaccine declines over the course of the season.
- 14% think flu shots are dangerous, but the fact is that the federal government ensures the safety of vaccines through FDA oversight of rigorous pre-licensure trials and post-licensure monitoring by the CDC and the FDA.
"Myths about the flu shot are prevalent, causing people to go unprotected each year and putting themselves and their families at risk," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark. "Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu, and we encourage individuals to protect themselves with a seasonal flu shot."
African American adults are more likely to have misconceptions about flu shots and are somewhat less likely than others to get a flu shot, yet are among the most concerned about picking up germs. Hispanic adults are more likely than others to do all the right things to avoid getting and transmitting the flu, and are among the most likely to plan to get a flu shot this year.
Flu vaccinations are available at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment necessary. CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,200 locations and MinuteClinic has nearly 600 locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores.
A flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic costs $29.99. Many health plans are accepted, including Medicare Part B and TRICARE, which may cover the full cost of a flu shot.* Customers whose flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic is not covered by insurance will receive a $5 CVS/pharmacy gift card.**
*TRICARE accepted at CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug Stores only
** Excludes MA, NJ & NY
These findings are from a survey conducted by telephone using random-digit dial August 16-25, 2011 among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,498 adults, 18 years and older. The sample consists of a national sample of 500 adults, an additional sample of 460 African-American adults (total of 498) and an additional sample of 450 Hispanic adults (500 total). Hispanic respondents were given the option of completing the survey in either English or Spanish. The data were weighted slightly by age and gender to reflect the demographic composition of the 18+ population (both overall, as well as among African-American and Hispanic adults). The estimated margin of error for each sample (national sample, African-American sample, and Hispanic sample) is +/-4.4% at the 95% confidence level. KRC Research of Washington D.C. conducted the fieldwork on behalf of CVS Caremark.
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://info.cvscaremark.com.
MinuteClinic is a division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail health care centers in the United States in 2000 and is the first provider to establish a national presence, with nearly 600 locations in 26 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. Nationally, the company has generated more than 10 million patient visits, with a 95% customer satisfaction rating. MinuteClinic consistently brings innovation to the marketplace and sets new standards for clinical quality that exceed national guidelines. MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation (2006) and reaccreditation (2009) from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com.
Weber Shandwick (for CVS/pharmacy)
TBC (for MinuteClinic)