TUESDAY, Oct. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Experts are warning that the upcoming flu season could be severe as social distancing measures are relaxed across the United States, but a new survey finds that 6 in 10 Americans may delay or skip a flu shot.
However, it also found that 98% of those who got a flu shot last season do plan to get one again this year.
While 82% of the 1,000 adult participants of the online survey said they are thinking more about their health due to COVID-19, only 26% said COVID-19 makes them more likely to get a flu shot this year.
Hispanics were more likely to say COVID-19 had an impact on their flu shot decision (57%) than non-Hispanics (38%), according to the poll from the American Heart Association (AHA).
"If there has ever been a year to prioritize getting your flu shot at the beginning of the season, this is it," AHA President Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones said in an association news release. "The flu will be back this year, and getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible will offer the most protection for you and your loved ones.
"The flu virus is going to have an easier time spreading this year with more people out and about at school, church, sporting events and so on. It's incredibly important for you to get the flu vaccine this year and make sure you and your loved ones are protected," said Lloyd-Jones, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Getting the flu vaccination will help prevent a "twindemic" and lower your risk of facing a one-two punch of severe flu and severe COVID-19 together or back-to-back, he noted.
"We recommend the flu shot for essentially everyone and particularly people who might be vulnerable because they have chronic health conditions -- things like diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity -- as well as people who are likely to be extra-exposed, like health care workers and people who are working in an essential front-line job where they come into contact with a lot of different people," Lloyd-Jones said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot by Oct. 31 for the best seasonal protection, and recommends the influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, with a few exceptions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the flu shot.
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Oct. 12, 2021