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February Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor Finds Only 66% of Charleston Seniors Have Been Immunized This Season
With peak flu season well underway, more than one-third of older Lowcountry residents remain unvaccinated
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 21, 2019) – Today, newly conducted survey results from the February Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor reveal that only 66% of Charleston area seniors have gotten a flu shot so far this season. This is a minimal increase from last month’s findings, indicating a worrisome plateau in vaccinations as flu activity continues to ramp up in the region.
Nationally, 63% of seniors surveyed in February had received the vaccine this flu season, which is unchanged from January. Though Charleston seniors are slightly ahead of the national average, the latest Flu Shot Monitor results are prompting the Medicare Advantage insurer to urge all Lowcountry residents to get vaccinated immediately.
The Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor also found that:
- Charleston seniors that live alone and those that are not married or in a relationship are less likely to get vaccinated – only 57% of local seniors that live alone and 55% who are unmarried have gotten flu shots, compared to 68% of those who do not live alone and 70% who are married
- While 70% of male seniors in the region surveyed have gotten a flu shot, just 63% of female seniors have been vaccinated this season
- Just 58% of African-Americans age 60 and older in the Charleston area have been vaccinated, compared with 70% of white seniors surveyed
- 75% of Charleston seniors with a household income of $75,000 or more have received a flu shot, versus 67% of those earning $35,000-$74,999, and just 55% of those earning less than $35,000
- Only 61% of Lowcountry seniors living in rural areas and 64% of city-dwelling seniors have received a flu shot, compared with 70% of seniors living in the suburbs
- Just 58% of seniors surveyed who are not college graduates have been vaccinated, compared with 80% who have a college degree
An estimated 15.4-17.8 million Americans have gotten sick with the flu since October, according to the most recent report from the CDC. Though flu season is expected to last at least into March, and has even stretched into May in recent years, far fewer people report getting vaccinated against the virus past late November – a dangerous trend, especially for senior citizens.
"Getting vaccinated remains the best protection against the flu for Lowcountry seniors," said Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, Clover Health. "Especially for older adults who spend time with children, the group most affected by this year’s strain, it is crucial to get your flu shot now to prevent passing on the virus. If you haven’t done so yet, there’s still time to do your part to keep the Charleston community healthy this flu season.”
In Charleston, seniors can access free or inexpensive influenza vaccines in a number of locations, including SCDHEC seasonal flu clinics. A complete list of flu shot locations and pricing details is also available via the national HealthMap Vaccine Finder at vaccinefinder.org.
The Flu Shot Monitor from Clover, a healthcare company using technology to improve medical outcomes, surveyed seniors in Charleston and across the U.S. to track the percentage of adults 60 and older who get vaccinated throughout this flu season.
As opposed to traditional fee-for-service that focuses on “sick care,” Medicare Advantage insurers like Clover often offer a range of preventative care benefits, such as gym memberships, dental coverage, and home visits. Clover members also receive free flu shots as part of its comprehensive plan benefits.The February Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor was conducted by Wakefield Research of 300 adults 60+ in Charleston. The national survey was of 1,000 adults 60+ throughout the U.S.