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Flu Shot More Popular Than COVID-19 Vaccine Among Older Adults

MONDAY, Dec. 7, 2020 -- Older adults are less likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine than a flu vaccine, according to a report published online Nov. 24 based on the results of the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

Preeti Malani, M.D., from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted an online survey (Oct. 9 to 27, 2020) of 1,556 randomly selected older adults (aged 50 to 80 years) to assess opinions of the flu vaccine and a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The researchers found that just under two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) indicated they received a flu shot during the last flu season, with seven in 10 either already having received one since August 2020 or intending to get one this flu season. As for a potential free COVID-19 vaccine, 58 percent of older adults reported they would be likely to get the vaccine (33 percent very likely and 25 percent somewhat likely), while 28 percent said they were unlikely to get the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine preferences did not differ whether or not respondents knew someone who had COVID-19 or who died from it. COVID-19 vaccine interest was higher among those ages 65 to 80 years versus 50 to 64 years (63 versus 54 percent), among men versus women (64 versus 52 percent), and among Whites versus Hispanics and Blacks (63 percent versus 51 and 40 percent, respectively).

"Our findings point to a strong need to communicate effectively and transparently about how well the vaccines work, the safeguards built in to protect the safety of recipients, and the public health importance of widespread vaccination starting with priority groups," Malani said in a statement.

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Posted: December 2020

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