Abbott’s influenza survey aims to help moms understand the need to fight the flu

Mumbai, March 1st, 2018: Abbott, one of India’s leading healthcare companies, recently conducted a perception survey on influenza to assess the awareness, usage and attitudes towards influenza immunizaton. According to the recent National Family Health Survey, as many as 72.5% of children in the age group of 12 to 23 months, considered an important period in a child’s development and immunity-building were not getting immunized on time.

The Abbott survey was conducted among mothers (0-6year old kids) and pregnant women. Abbott partnered with IQVIA, a globalmarket research and consulting firm, who surveyed 1000 consumers across 8cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad andPune to understand the severity of the issue.  IQVIA used a combined approachof both quanitative and qualitative analysis to conduct the survey. 

The results show that 66% of the surveyed population’sknowledge about vaccines is limited to information shared by doctors, while 58%were found to be completely unaware of the type of virus which causesInfluenza.  

Key Findings 

1.Importanceof flu vaccination40% of mothers & parents surveyeddo not take flu seriously.There is a rise in contagious issues such as flu in India, yet knowledge aboutvaccines is limited to information shared by the doctors. 

2. Awareness towardsflu:  Awarenessof flu and flu-related symptoms such as cold and fever needs to improve. 66% ofrespondents feel that if their family doctor advises them to vaccinate againstflu, they will do it. 

3.Attitude towardsvaccination:Although health (of their own as well as babies) is a priority for mothers andnew parents, necessary steps are not taken due to lack of information or acasual attitude. Surprisingly, 37% of pregnant females surveyed across theurban cities do not take a flu vaccine during pregnancy, in spite of doctorrecommendation. 

Perceptionof flu: Perception about Influenza is limited to a simple fever (82%), bodypain (71%) & cough (54%). Since mothers do not consider flu as somethingmore than a common cold, the survey results highlight the need to stress onthese symptoms and its association with flu.  

Speaking onthe survey, Dr. Mukesh Gupta - Gynecologist, Mumbai, says “Sinceflu and flu complications are more severe in pregnant women, flu shots arespecifically recommended to mothers during pregnancy; even better if givenbefore conception. After Childbirth the ‘Cocooning effect’ created  by allcaretakers / family members being vaccinated ensures that the disease is notspread to the little ones, as they cannot be immunised by vaccines in first 6months. As per a recent survey results, 37% of pregnantfemales across the urban cities do not take a flu vaccine during pregnancy, inspite of doctor’s recommendation. These numbers are serious and pregnantfemales should consider talking to their doctors before making any suchdecision. 

 InIndia, seasonal outbreaks of flu are commoner during the monsoons and then inthe winter. It is advisable to be vaccinated prior to the monsoons, so that theeffects last for the high risk time along with the whole year. There are fourcategories of people who are considered to be at higher risk, hence stronglyadvised to be immunised – pregnant women, young children below the age of5 years, elderly people, and those whose immunity is compromised because offactors such as asthma, diabetes,  ischemic heart disease to name a few.” 

Furtherelaborating on the survey results, Dr. Uday Ananth Pai – Pediatrician,Mumbai, said, “In spite of the existing prevalence and documentedimportance of influenza immunization, uptake of flu vaccines is not too high.As we see from the survey, 40% of mothers do not take fluseriously. Young babies over 6 months fall in the high-risk category of gettingflu, and hence advice is to vaccinate them on time and annually. Childrenyounger than 5 years are at high risk of serious influenza complications.Influenza is a preventable illness and hence parents should considervaccination to protect kids from flu-related discomfort. Prevention is simplerand more economical than having to undergo the anxiety of the illness andexpensive treatment later.” 

Speaking onthe survey  Ambati Venu, Managing Director, Abbott IndiaLimited  says “At Abbott, we want to help people get andstay healthy, including our young children. One of the first steps people cantake to prevent illness is to get vaccinated against influenza, and we hopethat by shedding light on the important topic, we encourage more parents inIndia to talk to their doctors about whether this makes sense for them.” 

As per theIntegrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), of India there have been38811 no. of flu cases and 2266 flu-related deaths during the year 2017 inIndia. Keeping this in mind, Abbott has initiated a “Mothers Against Influenza”campaign, raising awareness and encouraging mothers to initiate conversationswith their doctors so that they are thoroughly informed about influenza, itssymptoms and precautions.

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