AHA survey: Three in five people may delay or skip flu shot this year, despite warnings
According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for the American Heart Association, three in five Americans may delay or skip the flu shot this year, despite warnings from health experts.
However, according to the same survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, 98% of individuals who received the 2020-2021 flu vaccine said they plan to get vaccinated again this year.
Additionally, 26% of survey respondents said COVID-19 is making them more likely to receive the flu vaccine this year. According to an AHA press release, respondents who were Hispanic were more likely to say COVID-19 had an impact on their flu shot decision (57%) compared with non-Hispanic respondents (38%).
According to the release, influenza and its counterpart, pneumonia, ranked among the top 10 causes of death among Americans, and during the 2018-2019 flu season, 93% of adults hospitalized with influenza reported at least one underlying medical condition such as, diabetes or obesity. Individuals with CVD account for about half of all influenza hospitalizations.
According to the release, the CDC recommends that individuals 6 months of age and older should receive their flu vaccine by Oct. 31, for best protection.
“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,” Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FAHA, professor of preventive medicine, medicine and pediatrics and chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and president of the AHA, said in the release.
“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.
According to the survey, 94% of respondents incorrectly answered at least one of eight questions about flu vaccination, with 83% of individuals aged 18 to 24 years getting at least two questions incorrect, compared with 67% of individuals aged 25 to 40 years, 67% of those aged 41 to 56 years and 58% of respondents aged 57 to 75 years.
Moreover, 73% of respondents knew they would not get influenza from the flu vaccine and 88% knew they could get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.
“The way the flu vaccine is made, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. Rest assured; you’re not going to get the flu from this shot just as you don’t get COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccine,” Lloyd-Jones said in a related video. “That’s not the way these vaccines work. These vaccines work by priming the immune system so that it will recognize certain proteins in the virus or by recognizing fully killed dead viruses so that your immunes system is ready to attack the live ones if you get exposed.”