Clover Health's Flu Shot Monitor Finds Only 63% of U.S. Seniors Plan to Get a Flu Shot This Season

Innovative Medicare Advantage insurer urges America's seniors to get a flu shot in October, before the virus hits

 

Oct. 1, 2018 -- Survey results released today from the inaugural Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor reveal that only 63% of U.S. seniors age 60 and older plan to get a flu shot this season, prompting the Medicare Advantage insurer to implore all Americans to take the threat of the virus more seriously and get vaccinated before the end of October.

Notably, the Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor also found that:

  • 35% of seniors surveyed did not get a flu shot in the 2017/18 flu season
  • 8% of seniors who caught the flu once during last flu season do not plan to get a shot this year
  • Of those not planning to get a flu shot this season, 43% are concerned it will make them sick, 35% don't think it will be effective, 35% do not think they need it or will contract the flu, and 22% don't like shots
  • 64% of white Americans over 60 plan to get a flu shot, compared with only 56% of people of color/non-whites
  • 74% of those seniors with a household income of $75,000 or more plan to get a flu shot, versus 65% of those in households earning $35,000-$74,999, and just 54% of those earning less than $35,000
  • Just 60% of seniors without an undergraduate degree plan to get a flu shot, compared with 70% of those who graduated from college
  • While 75% of seniors age 80 years and older plan to get a flu shot, only 69% of seniors age 70-79 and 60% of those age 60-69 plan to get vaccinated

"The flu is a deadly-serious issue, and seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations during flu season," said Kumar Dharmarajan, MD and Chief Scientific Officer at Clover Health. "It's concerning to see that so many people in this at-risk demographic do not intend to get vaccinated. Not only are these older adults putting themselves at risk, but also their friends and family members. While there are a lot of scary myths around getting a flu shot, the real danger is contracting the illness."

Beyond that, these statistics lead to a troubling conclusion – that senior citizens in underserved communities are planning to get flu shots at rates far below white, more affluent and highly-educated older Americans.

The influenza epidemic of 2017-2018 reached near-pandemic levels, accounting for 80,000 deaths last season, according to the CDC. The flu is especially dangerous for seniors. From October 2017 through May 2018, 58% of the over 30,000 flu-related hospitalizations were attributed to adults 65 years and older. Baby Boomers (age 50-64) were no exception, hospitalized at rates second only to seniors.

Beyond that, even months after recovering from the flu, older adults remain at increased risk for a heart attack, stroke, or disability due to weakened immune systems and slower recovery times.

Against this backdrop, the Flu Shot Monitor from Clover, a healthcare company using technology to improve medical outcomes, aims to understand attitudes around the vaccine, including how the severity of last season is affecting the decisions of older adults this year.

This survey data arrives on the heels of Clover's launch into several additional markets this Annual Election Period (AEP), including Nashville, Tucson, Charleston, El Paso, Camden and Philadelphia, in addition to its existing markets in Savannah, San Antonio, and fifteen counties across New Jersey.

AEP kicks off on October 15 and goes through December 7, during which time seniors and others eligible for Medicare can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or change their existing plan. Clover members receive free flu shots as part of the insurer's comprehensive plan benefits.

The Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor was conducted by Wakefield Research of 1,000 adults ages 60 and older throughout the U.S. The survey was administered from September 18, 2018 through September 28, 2018.

The Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor will track the percentage of U.S. seniors who get a flu shot throughout this flu season and provide regular updates.
  

About Clover Health
Clover Health is a healthcare technology company with a deeply-rooted mission of helping its members live their healthiest lives. Clover uses its proprietary technology platform to collect, structure and analyze health and behavioral data to improve medical outcomes and lower costs for patients. As the only company whose business goals fully align with its members' health needs, Clover works with members and their caregivers to become a valued partner. This trust is built by proactively identifying at-risk individuals and teaming up with providers to accelerate care coordination and simultaneously improve health outcomes and reduce avoidable costs. Clover is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.cloverhealth.com.