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Despite Positive Media Coverage of This Year’s Flu Shot, Consumers Remain Highly Skeptical of the Vaccine

Treato and MediaMiser Join Forces to Examine How This Year’s Flu Vaccine is Being Discussed Online Across Media and Health Forums

Consumers, particularly parents, remain highly skeptical of this year’s flu shot despite the media’s efforts to positively endorse this year’s vaccine, according to a data analysis released today by Treato and MediaMiser

The co-analysis shows a disconnect between media and consumers: while media reports this season focused on the vaccine’s efficacy compared to last year’s, most commenters in online forums still held very deep reservations about side effects, mistrust of government vaccine recommendations, and so-called “Big Pharma” profit motives. The media’s positive push of the flu shot didn’t seem to affect consumers’ discussions online, either, as consumers didn’t regularly source media articles within posts.

In fact, only 38 percent of consumers surveyed said they heard last year’s flu shot was less effective than normal, and only 24 percent said the reason they didn’t get the flu shot was because of efficacy concerns. The number one reason surveyed consumers said they didn’t get the flu shot this year was because they are concerned about side effects.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Effectiveness was the most-mentioned issue in media coverage, followed by accessibility and children’s related issues.
  • The doctor’s office is still the location of choice to get the flu shot: 49 percent of those surveyed who got the flu shot went to see their doctor, followed by 19 percent at the pharmacy, 15 percent at place of employment and 11 percent at a health clinic.
  • There’s little brand recognition among flu shot brands: 79 percent of those surveyed who go the flu shot this year didn’t know the name of the vaccine they received.
  • Age is a driving factor in getting a flu shot: 50 percent of those surveyed who got the flu shot this year, but didn’t last year, were over 55.
  • Those who get the flu shot are committed it to year after year: 71 percent of those surveyed who got the flu shot this year, also got the flu shot last year.
  • The Associated Press published the most articles about the flu shot, while California and Pennsylvania were the two states that featured the most coverage.

To access the full report, please visit:




Treato analyzed more than 28,000 posts about flu vaccines from online health forums, with a specific focus on parenting forums.  The results of Treato’s survey are based on the responses of 717 users polled from 12/10/15- 12/17/15.

MediaMiser analyzed more than 4,500 online news and blog articles published between August and November of 2015 mentioning the flu shot/flu vaccine.

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Allyson Noonan Media Relations Manager, Treato
Allyson Noonan Media Relations Manager, Treato
About Treato

Treato™, the leading source of health insights from millions of real health consumers, uses patented analytics and big data technology to turn billions of disparate online conversations into meaningful social intelligence. With more than two billion posts analyzed and continuously expanding, Treato has partnered with 9 out of the world's top 10 pharma companies as well as numerous other multi-national pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations., its consumer website, helps millions of visitors each month. Treato is privately held with offices in Israel, New York and Princeton, NJ. Investors include Reed Elsevier Ventures, OrbiMed Partners and New Leaf Venture Partners, among others.

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