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Survey: More than half Millennials won’t be getting flu shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans of all ages get a flu shot every year; however, millennials ages 18-34 apparently don’t think this applies to them, according to a survey by CityMD, a network of urgent care centers in the New York City tristate area and Seattle, Wash.

The online survey found that 52 percent of millennials are not planning on getting a flu shot this year. Fielded by Harris Poll’s Quick Query between Sept. 13-15, 2016, the survey polled 2,080 adults ages 18 and older on their intention for a flu shot and reasons they may forgo the flu shot.

When asked why, millennials cited the following:

  • 49 percent said they don’t trust that it will keep them from getting the flu
  • 29 percent said they think it could make them sick
  • 25 percent don’t want to spend the money
  • 23 percent don’t think they need it because they’ve never gotten the flu
  • 4 percent don’t know where to get the flu shot

“The flu is something to take very seriously, no matter your age,” said Dr. Dawne Kort, attending physician at CityMD. “While the severity of the flu season varies each year, you want to best prepare your immune system for this infectious disease. The flu shot is the most effective way to keep your body healthy.”

The CDC reports that the peak of flu season occurs anywhere from late November through March, and provides influenza reports each week beginning in October. The CityMD survey also found that only 7 percent of Americans have already received a flu shot, as of September 15, 2016.

In comparison to other age groups, the propensity toward getting a flu shot does increase as respondents got older, but still not at the rate CityMD says they should be to keep influenza cases low this year.

Americans Not Planning on Getting a Flu Shot

  • 42 percent of all American adults
  • 52 percent of 18-34 year olds
  • 49 percent of 35-44 year olds
  • 48 percent of 45-54 year olds
  • 38 percent of 55-64 year olds

Additional findings from the survey among U.S. adults who don’t plan to get a flu shot include:

  • When asked why they don’t plan to get a flu shot this year, the top reason cited was that they don’t trust that the flu shot would keep them from getting the flu (52 percent)
    • Northeasterners (61 percent) are more likely to indicate this than Southerners (48 percent).
  • Those ages 55+ (30 percent) are two times more likely than those ages 45-54 (15 percent) to say they are not getting the flu shot this year because they’ve never gotten the flu.
  • Only 5 percent of those aged 65+ are not planning to get the flu because they don’t want to spend the money.
  • Two percent cited that they do not know where to get the flu shot as a reason for not getting the flu shot.

For CityMD’s recommendations on planning for the 2016 influenza season, visit CityMD.com.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of CityMD from September 13-15, 2016 among 2,080 adults ages 18 and older, among which 433 are millennials ages 18-34 and 859 don’t plan to get a flu shot. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.