More than half of Americans aren’t seeing their primary care physician for regular checkups, and many aren’t getting the vaccinations they need, a new survey from Walgreens finds.
“If people aren't going to the doctor or talking regularly with a pharmacist, nurse practitioner or other health care professional, it would be difficult to know what immunizations they may be due or overdue for,” says Jeff Kang, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “This also shows the opportunity to educate consumers because while many are interested in knowing, they just aren't getting this type of health information.”
The survey looked at the disease or illness that concerns respondents the most, and how often that concern leads to action in the form of vaccination to prevent or protect against it. Flu ranked highest for concern, with 27 percent worried about it, three-fourths of whom said they’ve received a flu shot as a preventive measure.
Thirty percent of respondents indicated they weren’t concerned about any preventative diseases—which they could get vaccinated for—including pneumonia, shingles, hepatitis and whooping cough.
For those who indicated concern over contracting any of the vaccine-preventable diseases but have yet to be immunized, not knowing enough about the vaccine was the most common response for their reason why.
“Awareness and education are the first steps in helping people understand the importance of preventive health and immunizations are a big part of that,” Kang says. “These services are now widely covered by insurers.”
According to a February CDC report, at least 45,000 American adults die each year of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.