Who Takes Up Free Flu Shots?

Examining the Effects of an Expansion in Coverage

Published in: De Economist, v. 162, no. 1, Mar. 2014, p. 1-17

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2014

by Katherine Grace Carman, Ilaria Mosca

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The risk of costly complications and the externalities of contagious diseases lead many countries provide free flu shots to certain populations. In 2008, the Netherlands expanded their flu shot program to cover all individuals over the age of 60, instead of 65. We investigate the effects of the expansion and examine those factors that influence people to change their behavior. We find that the main barrier to take up of free flu shots is labor force participation. Expansion of the program did little to change the behavior of those at increased risk, primarily because these individuals were already getting flu shots.

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