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January Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor Finds Only 62% of Charleston Seniors Have Been Immunized This Season
With flu shot rates increasing just 5% since December, too many older Lowcountry residents remain unvaccinated going into the height of flu season
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 16, 2019) – Today, newly conducted survey results from the January Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor reveal that only 62% of Charleston area seniors have gotten a flu shot so far this season. This is a slight improvement from last month’s findings, which showed that just 57% of Charleston adults 60 and older had been vaccinated.
Nationally, 63% of seniors surveyed in January had received the vaccine this flu season, compared to 60% in December. With Charleston seniors trailing behind 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:
- 67% of local seniors with a household income of $75,000 or more have received a flu shot, versus 65% of those in local households earning $35,000-$74,999, and just 52% of those earning less than $35,000
- Charleston seniors that live alone and those that are not married or in a relationship are much less likely to get vaccinated -- only 52% of Charleston seniors that live alone and 48% who are unmarried have gotten flu shots, compared to 66% of those who do not live alone and 70% who are married
- Just 50% of seniors living in rural areas of Charleston have been vaccinated, compared with 63% in urban areas and 65% in the suburbs
- While 64% of male seniors in the region surveyed have gotten a flu shot, only 60% of female seniors have been vaccinated this season
According to the CDC, flu season typically peaks in February, though flu activity has stretched into May in recent years. However, far fewer people report getting vaccinated against the flu past late November – a dangerous trend, especially for senior citizens.
"Even in January, it’s not too late for Lowcountry seniors to get a flu shot," said Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, Clover Health. "It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect, making it crucial for Charleston area residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible before the flu hits its peak this 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.
Clover's focus on reducing the number of seniors who catch the flu stems from the company's commitment to preventative healthcare, leveraging data and its technology platform to proactively address potential illnesses before they become serious. As part of this, Clover's sophisticated technology has an 85% accuracy rate in identifying patients at risk of being admitted to the hospital in the next 28 days – an unmatched level of precision.
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 January Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor was conducted by Wakefield Research of 300 adults 60+ in the Charleston region. The national survey was of 1,000 adults 60+ throughout the U.S. The surveys were administered through January 9, 2019.