92% of doctors tell patients not to wait to get the flu shot

Nearly 7 out of 10 US Physicians Also Say Pandemic Apt to Significantly Impact Travel This Holiday Season

New York – September 24, 2020 – Week 14 of Sermo’s COVID-19 Real Time Barometer survey revealed that 92 percent of physicians in the United States are recommending that patients get their annual flu shot as soon as possible in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In New York and California, the number of physicians recommending a flu shot immediately jumps to 96 percent and 94 percent, respectively.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traditionally recommends patients receive a flu shot by the end of October to help combat the virus during flu season, almost all (85%) of the 2,400+ Sermo doctors surveyed from September 17-20 across 31 countries are encouraging their patients to receive a flu shot immediately.

“Each year, the flu sickens millions and hospitalizes hundreds of thousands of people during the fall and winter months. The elderly are especially hard hit every year,” said Peter Kirk, Sermo CEO. “While physicians always recommend flu shots, the fact that almost all are recommending that patients receive a vaccine sooner rather than later shows just how concerned they are about the potential for flu to deplete valuable resources in the middle of this historic pandemic.” 

The survey also found that physicians, like everyone else, are already planning on either eliminating or sharply curtailing travel plans during the holiday season because of COVID-19. Worldwide, 68 percent of physicians said that their holiday travel plans are ‘significantly impacted’ by the pandemic. Overall, in the U.S., 66 percent of physicians said they didn’t plan to travel with their families, but those numbers jumped to 83 percent and 70 percent in New York and California, respectively. 

Other findings from the survey include:

  • As many as 65 percent of physicians worldwide indicated that they had ordered a COVID-19 test for a patient while 42 percent said they have treated a patient for COVID-19. 
  • In the U.S., 70 percent of physicians have ordered a COVID-19 test while 44 percent said they have treated a patient for the illness. 
  • In New York, the numbers increase to 76 percent and 47 percent, respectively. In California, the percentage of physicians ordering tests mirror those nationwide.

The numbers follow the belief physicians have that a second surge of COVID-19 cases is on the horizon. Globally, 93 percent of physicians expect a second wave of cases as the Northern Hemisphere enters the fall and winter months, and people spend more time indoors.

About the Real Time Barometer

The Real Time Barometer is an observational study of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak as reported by physicians with firsthand experience treating COVID-19 patients. Each week, thousands of physicians provide insights on topics regarding the global health crisis. To date, Sermo has conducted over 60,800 interviews with doctors in 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan and Australia. Full results are available at sermo.com.

About Sermo

Sermo is the largest healthcare data collection company and social platform for physicians, reaching 1.3MM healthcare professionals across 150 countries. The platform enables doctors to anonymously talk real-world medicine, review treatment options via our proprietary Drug Ratings platform, collectively solve patient cases, and participate in medical market research. For more information, visit sermo.com.

Media Contact:

Lora Grassilli