Do people who intend to get a flu shot actually get one?

J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Dec;24(12):1311-3. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1126-2. Epub 2009 Oct 17.


Background: Vaccination against seasonal influenza is far from universal among groups specifically recommended for vaccine. There is little research to guide communication with patients about vaccination.

Objective: To assess the utility of the self-reported intention to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza in predicting vaccine uptake, reasons for being unvaccinated, and willingness to be vaccinated based on a doctor's recommendation.

Methods: We analyzed data from a subset of respondents (n = 1,527) specifically recommended by the ACIP for vaccination against seasonal influenza who participated in two national surveys of adults age 18 and older conducted in November 2008 and March 2009.

Results: Over half who intended to be vaccinated had been vaccinated. Compared to those without intentions, those with intentions were one-fifth as likely (p < 0.01) to cite lack of need and five times more likely (p < 0.01) to cite "not getting around to being vaccinated" as main reasons for not being vaccinated. Roughly two-fifths of those without the intention to be vaccinated indicated a willingness to be vaccinated based on a doctor's recommendation.

Conclusions: Asking simple questions about the intention to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza may be an efficient means of identifying patients with whom extended discussion of vaccine benefits is warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / psychology
  • Intention*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Influenza Vaccines