SURVEY SAYS: Have/Will You Get a Flu Shot?

Tis the season - to get flu shots, that is.

This week, I’d like to know, have/will you get a flu shot?   And if not, why not?

REPLY to this week’s survey by 2 p.m. ET today – and don’t forget to check out this week’s bonus questions!

REPLY to this week’s survey HERE

This week, I asked readers if they had/were planning to get one - and if not, why not.

Well, just under 70% of this week's respondents were planning to get a shot - and two-thirds of those (roughly 44% of the total respondents) were getting those shots at work.   That, by the way, is well up from a reader survey we did in 2005 (see  SURVEY SAYS: Do You Offer Flu Vaccinations at Your Workplace? ).   

Then we asked the remaining 30% (technically, 1% wasn't sure yet if they were going to get a shot or not) why they were not getting that shot.   Their reasons were, as you might expect, varied.   A plurality ( 22% ) said they thought it was "better to build their own natural immunities, though nearly as many ( 21% ) said they "weren't part of an at-risk population."  

Nearly 18% said that they, or someone they knew, has gotten sick from the vaccine, 15.8% said simply "I don't get sick", one-in-eight admitted they were "worried about the side effects", and one-in-ten "didn't like needles."

"Avail" Ability

The prevalence of the workplace availability surely accounted for the fact that only 1.8% cited a lack of time or inconvenience - and none said "cost."   As one reader noted, "We sponsor flu shots as a part of the firm's Wellness Program."  Another noted, "Flu shots given at work, free, and 26% took them."

While I provided a number of choices, I missed a couple:

"You left a choice off on the flu shot question. I don't take it because I tested allergic to the vaccine."

"My reason for no flu shot is not listed. I am one of those that is in a high risk category, however, I am allergic to eggs. The base used in flu shots is eggs. Surprise!"

There were plenty of experiences, both for:

  "As for flu shots - the last case I had of flu was so bad that if I have to 'bend over and drop 'em' on a corner of Main Street (not a pretty thought for the public), I will take the shot!"

"I have not had a flu shot in almost 10 years, and have been as healthy as a horse. However, with our first little one in the household this winter my husband and I both decided to get a flu shot."

"I have gotten the flu shot consistently for years now. There's nothing like a week long bout of sleeping sitting up and feeling like you might drown at any minute and struggling to breeze to make you want to try anything available to avoid a repeat performance."

"Working in a young office, getting a flu shot is a necessity - kids pass on EVERYTHING and it seems like someone is always hacking or sniffling in their cube."

And against:

"I do not get flu shots because I do not believe in them. I do enjoy, however the frenzy the media generates when every year we hear about a shortage of flu shots. Then a couple a weeks after reporting the shortage, mysteriously thousands of doses are again available."

"Ah, the flu shot! As a kid, my parents always had all of us (5 kids + parents) vaccinated every year, on the recommendation of "Dr. Quack", as us kids called our family physician. And every year, each and every one of us had the flu. So, when I got out on my own, I refused to get that vaccination, and I've had the flu exactly once in the last 40 years! (about the same rate as my siblings). Yes, I'm a skeptic."

"The flu shot... Hmmm Make myself sick so I don't get sick... Interesting."

But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who noted, "I once worked for a large company that cared nothing about its employees, yet required us all to take a free shot at work. If it is good macro-economics, it is good micro-economics."

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!

Editor's Note  If you missed it, you should check out our coverage of a recent Consumer Reports survey on the subject of flu shots (seeAlmost Half of Adults Polled Say 'No Way!' to Flu Shots) - and some responses to some of the most common reasons for not getting the shot (see Excuses and Responses)