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Many U.S. Adults Misinformed About the Flu, Vaccination

Only 49 percent of a national sample of U.S. adults reported having received the flu shot as of Dec. 2019

FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Many U.S. adults are misinformed about the influenza virus and the importance of flu vaccination, according to the results of a survey released by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Wakefield Research conducted the online Flu Survey (between Nov. 27 and Dec. 9, 2019) on behalf of the AAFP. The analysis included a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults (ages 25 to 73 years) with an oversampling of Hispanic Americans, African-Americans, and Asian Americans.

The survey results showed that overall, more than half (51 percent) of Americans have not received the flu vaccine this season and nearly a third of adults (32 percent) do not plan to get it. Rates are slightly worse for millennials, with 55 percent having not received a vaccination and 33 percent saying they will not get one. One-fourth of millennials say they do not have the time to get a flu shot and 22 percent say they have forgotten. U.S. adults are misinformed when it comes to facts about the flu, with 82 percent of adults getting at least one fact wrong and 28 percent getting all of them wrong. Millennials were even less informed about the flu, with 86 percent getting at least one fact wrong and 31 percent getting all of them wrong. Furthermore, more than three in five millennials and 61 percent of African-Americans say they agree with some antivaccination beliefs.

“It’s concerning to see that parents are misinformed, thinking the flu shot can give their children the flu or that they don’t need it,” Alexa Mieses, M.D., a practicing family physician in Durham, North Carolina, said in a statement. “We need to make sure they understand the seriousness of the flu so they can protect and immunize their children and themselves.”

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