You’ve likely heard the warnings: over 80,000 people died last year from the flu or flu-related complications. But is this evening news statistic about last year impacting flu shot intent for this flu season? CivicScience looked into the flu shot plans of over 1,600 U.S. adults earlier this month.

The below results indicate people are split on the handwringing, ‘will I or won’t I’ of getting one.

Over ⅓ of U.S. adults (36%) do not plan to get a flu shot this season.

Age factors into the equation in a big way. The younger the person, the more likely they are to have no plans to get a flu shot.

Doctor’s Orders

You’d think that perhaps people aren’t getting a flu shot because they don’t visit the doctor, but that’s not the case.

Though respondents who haven’t gone to the doctor in the past year are slightly more likely to say they have no flu shot plans, 80% of the non-flu shot group has been to the doctor at least once in the past 12 months.

The Flu Doesn’t Apply to Me

We asked people what drives their decision NOT to get a flu shot. (Note: this chart excludes people who DID get a flu shot or plan to get one.)

The results show that worry about the potential symptoms or getting sick from the vaccine itself has over a third of those who won’t get a flu shot concerned, but, perhaps the bigger story, 28% just don’t feel like they need it.

Millennials are the most likely to say they think it’s too late to get one, as well as just feeling like they don’t need it to begin with. For Gen Xers, it’s the potential symptoms keeping a large percentage away from vaccinating this flu season.

Perception of One’s Health Comes Into Play

Those who don’t plan to get a flu shot have high opinions of their own health, leading us to believe that people who think they are in optimum health just don’t think it’s necessary for them to get the shot.

When comparing perception of health with the reasons people will not be getting a flu shot, the “I’m doing just fine without it, thanks” narrative is solidified.

The whole philosophy of “I’m healthy / so I don’t feel like I need it” seems to be the big story among those opting not to get pricked with the flu vaccination.

The last time we studied flu shot vaccination intent, in 2015, 49% had gotten their shot or planned to get one, which is slightly lower than our current research (58%).  While there’s slight growth three years later, it doesn’t match the severity of what the flu epidemic has become.