A new survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases found key insights into what Americans believe about flu, pneumococcal disease, and COVID-19.
What do patients really believe when it comes to influenza and pneumococcal disease? And what impact does the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have on their attitudes toward vaccination during the upcoming 2020-2021 flu season?
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases commissioned a survey to better understand beliefs and attitudes toward flu, pneumococcal disease, and COVID-19 among US adults. The survey included 1000 responses (897 via the Internet and 103 via telephone) from adults aged ≥18 years representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Find out the results and key takeaways for primary care physicians in the slides below.
Flu Vaccination: Attitudes, Practices. Overall, 68% of respondents agreed flu vaccination is the best preventive measure against flu-related deaths and hospitalizations (up from 61% in 2019); 59% do plan to get vaccinated against flu this season; and 15% are unsure.
Flu Vaccine: Doesn’t Work Well, May Cause Flu. Among those who were unsure or do not plan to get the flu vaccine, top reasons cited included not thinking flu vaccines work well (34%), never getting the flu (32%), concerned about the vaccine's potential side effects (29%), concerned about getting flu from the vaccine (22%), and concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19 if they go out to get vaccinated (17%).
Good/Not-so-Good News. The survey found a significant decrease since 2019 in respondents who said they will not get a flu vaccine because they believe it does not work (51% vs 34%); but 22% of those at increased risk for flu-related complications said they were not planning to get vaccinated this season. Also, most white adults (59%) and Hispanic adults (65%) plan to get the flu vaccine this season, but 62% of black adults are not sure or do not plan to get vaccinated.
More Worry about COVID-19 vs Flu. US adults are more likely to worry about getting COVID-19 than the flu with 46% of respondents said they are very/extremely worried about COVID-19 infection (for themselves or family member), while 23% are similarly concerned about being infected with flu. Another 46% are worried about being infected with COVID-19 and flu at the same time; black and Hispanic adults are more likely to be worried about concomitant infection vs white adults. Also, 28% said the pandemic makes them more likely to get the flu vaccine this season.
Sources of Information about Flu Vaccination. Over 60% of Americans said health care professionals are their primary source of information about flu and flu vaccination; >80% said they trust health care professionals for flu vaccine information, far more than other sources.
Access to Flu Vaccination. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they would be more likely to be vaccinated this season if flu vaccines were offered in non-clinical settings (eg, drive-thru clinics), as well as traditional settings (eg, physician office, pharmacy); 64% report getting their last flu vaccine in a health care setting.
Pneumococcal Disease: Knowledge and Attitudes. Adults aged ≥65 years, or those with underlying health conditions who are at higher risk for pneumococcal disease, show gaps in awareness, understanding about conditions and vaccination:
• 46% are not familiar with pneumococcal disease
• 51% have not been advised to get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease
Pneumococcal Vaccine: At Risk but Unsure. Among adults aged ≥65 years, or those with underlying health conditions who are at higher risk for pneumococcal disease:
• 65% are unsure of their vaccination status or have not received a pneumococcal vaccination
• 89% of those who have not been vaccinated do not plan to do so or are unsure if they will
Pneumococcal Vaccine: Many Fear Side Effects. Top reasons why people say they won’t get a pneumococcal vaccine or are unsure if they will:
• 28% are concerned about possible side effects from the vaccine
• 15% are concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 if they go out to get vaccinated
• 14% do not think pneumococcal vaccines work very well
• 11% do not think that pneumonia is a serious illness