As the U.S. enters the notorious flu season, less than half of adults plan on getting their flu shot, including some at higher risk for influenza-related complications.
According to a survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), approximately 49% of adults reported they plan on getting the vaccine despite over 60% of respondents agreeing it is the best preventative measure against flu-related deaths and hospitalizations.
Moreover, 1 in 5 Americans with a higher risk of complications from influenza refuse to get the shot.
“We know flu vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement, according to CNBC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that individuals most likely to suffer from severe symptoms of flu infections include pregnant women, children under 5 years old, and older adults with underlying conditions.
Respondents gave various reasons for avoiding the shot, but the top justification was that 41% believed the flu vaccine was ineffective. In addition, 39% say they believe side effects from the shot are concerning, while 28% claim they never get the flu regardless of vaccination status.
About 24% of adult participants believe getting the shot may lead to flu infection, and 20% say the common flu is not a serious illness.
“With COVID, people have forgotten about influenza. This is another serious winter respiratory virus, it can do bad damage to you,” said William Schaffner, medical director of NFID. “The key to prevention is vaccination.”
The study indicated that 58% of adults believe masking may provide a better protection against the flu than the vaccine.