LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences recently published a study that found patients who have a primary care provider are more likely to get a flu shot every year.

The study was conducted by researchers for the Office of Community Health & Research and specifically found that participants who had health insurance or a primary care provider were twice as likely to receive the flu vaccine on a yearly basis.

Researchers analyzed various factors that influenced flu vaccination in Arkansas over a five-year span. In addition to the relationship between having a regular doctor and flu vaccinations, findings included:

  • Hispanic women were more likely to get the flu vaccine every year.
  • Participants who did not have any vaccine hesitancy were three times as likely to get the vaccine as those who had expressed any level of hesitancy.
  • Participants who lived in a metropolitan area and had a bachelor’s degree or higher also had greater odds of receiving the vaccine on a yearly basis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of the population in the U.S. and Arkansas received the flu vaccine during the 2020-2021 flu season. The CDC also reported in February 2022 that there have been 174 million doses of the flu vaccine distributed in the U.S., with the majority of vaccinations distributed at a doctor’s office.

“Establishing a trusted provider-patient relationship is important to vaccine confidence and vaccine acceptance. This is important for the flu vaccine and for other vaccines that allow people to live long and healthy lives,” said Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., MBA, director of the Office of Community Health & Research.

Flu viruses change every year and generally infect people during the late fall and winter months. Many insurance providers offer annual flu vaccines at no cost to the patient. For more information about flu vaccines, talk to your primary care provider or visit www.cdc.gov.

To view the full study, click here.