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Kentuckians Beat U.S. Flu Shot Average

A survey of Northern Kentucky adults finds nearly 60 percent of them received a flu shot in the last 12 months. The poll from Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky also found 54 percent of adults statewide had received the vaccine.

Research officer Susan Sprigg says it's the first year they've asked about flu shots in the annual questionnaire. "It is reported that last year about 37 percent of adults nationwide got the vaccine," she says.

Of those surveyed who said they didn't get the shot, Sprigg says, "For nearly six in 10 people in the state, there was a misperception that caused them to not to get the flu vaccine. Maybe they thought 'I'm healthy, I don't need to get a flu shot.' Or maybe they thought 'The flu vaccine is going to make me ill.' That's another misconception."

Sprigg says there are a few people who are opposed to vaccinations altogether, but she believes that to be a small percentage. More often, she says, people don't get a flu shot because they don't understand how important it is to get vaccinated to avoid missing work or getting sick during the holidays.

"And then it also helps protect the community. There are certain people who are unable to get the flu vaccine, such as very young babies or people with certain health conditions. When many people around them have gotten the vaccine, you get a community immunity to the flu that really helps protects everyone," she says.

Sprigg says about two in 10 people who said they didn't get the shot identified barriers, including scheduling or easy access.

She says the 2017-18 flu season was severe, and they hope to see improvement for the current season. "We certainly recommend people getting one by the end of October but it's not too late at all," she says. "It can still provide benefits for you and your loved ones and the people around you."

According to the Kentucky Department of Public Health, there were 82 flu cases reported statewide in the week ending December 15.

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