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Survey: More Americans Getting Seasonal Flu Vaccine


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Nurse at pharmacy clinic giving flu shot to patient

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults say they get the flu vaccine each year or plan to get one in 2017, according to a July 2017 survey by Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Pharmacy.

About 2,000 Americans age 18 and older participated in the annual online survey. Compared to last year’s survey results, 2 percent more Americans surveyed said they get the vaccine annually or will get the vaccine this year (61 percent in 2017 versus 59 percent in 2016).

The U.S. government recommends everyone 6 months of age and older gets a flu vaccine each season before flu season is in full swing. Flu season in the U.S. runs October through May.

According to the 2017 survey, fall months are the most popular time for Americans who have gotten a flu shot in the past to get another one. Thirty-six percent said they get vaccinated in October, making it the most popular month for flu shots.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides which vaccine viruses can be included in the flu vaccines sold in the U.S. Flu viruses change, so flu vaccines may need to be updated to be effective.

“All 2017-18 influenza vaccines licensed in the U.S. will contain hemagglutinin (HA) derived from influenza viruses antigenically similar to those recommended by FDA,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hemagglutinin is a protein found on the surface of the influenza virus that helps the virus bind to cells and infect them. The goal of the flu vaccine is to stimulate the body’s immune system so that it builds antibodies that will protect the body if exposed to the virus in the future. The process of developing that protection in the body takes about two weeks.

Other Ways Americans Protect Themselves from the Flu

Two in three — or 67 percent of — surveyed Americans who received a flu vaccine last year or plan to get one this year said getting the vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu. Even so, more Americans said they are taking other preventative actions to protect themselves from the flu.

According to the Harris Poll survey:

  • 41 percent of Americans regularly use hand sanitizer to stop the spread of germs (up 3 percent from last year)
  • 55 percent of Americans report drinking more water to protect themselves from the flu (up 4 percent from last year)
  • 50 percent of Americans say they are taking vitamins (up 4 percent from last year)
  • 44 percent of Americans are eating more nutritious food (up 2 percent from last year)
  • 43 percent are staying physically active (up 4 percent from last year)
Emily Miller
Written By Emily Miller Managing Editor

Emily Miller is an award-winning journalist with 7 years of professional experience writing and editing content for reputable media organizations across the U.S. She also has 13 years of personal experience as a patient living with Crohn’s disease. Her coverage of U.S. prescription drug prices for Drugwatch has been published or cited by news outlets, including The Hill, Fox Business and United Press International. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Society of Professional Journalists and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • 2016 Florida Society of News Editors third place winner in Breaking News
Edited By

5 Cited Research Articles writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, March 21). Vaccine Injury Table. Retrieved from
  2. Goodsell, D. (2006, April). Hemagglutinin. PDB-101. Retrieved from
  3. (2017, September 15). 2017-18 Summary of Recommendations. Retrieved from
  4. CVS Health. (2017, August 16). CVS Health Survey Reveals Two in Three Americans who plan to get a Flu Shot Believe it is the Best Way to Prevent the Flu. Retrieved from
  5. CVS Health. (2016, August 16). CVS Health Survey Reveals Two in Five Americans Make Multiple Trips to get Entire Household Vaccinated against the Flu. Retrieved from
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