The flu isn’t popular, but neither are flu shots. A report issued last month by Consumer Reports says a bare majority of adults (52 percent) plan to get a flu vaccine this year. What’s stopping the rest? In a poll fielded in October, 67 percent said they prefer to build up their own immunities; 45 percent said they “do not get sick.”
Many expressed doubts about the vaccine itself: 41 percent said they know somebody who got sick from it; 35 percent fret about side effects; 26 percent think it’s ineffective. Twenty-seven percent confessed they don’t like getting shots; 23 percent don’t like going to the doctor. Five percent would “rather get sick than go to work.” A plain moral of the story is that people can’t be relied on to respond rationally to marketing that stresses the benefits of preventive medicine.