This flu season, most Americans prefer not to get their flu shot for protection against the virus.
A survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) found that only 49% of the U.S. population is willing to get the flu vaccine.
“We know flu vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at Tuesday’s NFID conference, as per CNBC.
Based on the annual survey, most do not plan to get vaccinated against the flu even though they believe vaccination is the best protection against it.
About 69% said they agree that the flu shot is the best preventive measure against flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. However, only 49% of the respondents plan to get vaccinated during the 2022-23 flu season.
The NFID reported that 41% are either unsure or do not plan to get jabbed against the flu. The top reasons for doing so include not having enough trust in the new flu vaccines and concerns about potential side effects. Some said they never get the flu. Others were concerned about getting sick from the vaccine, while some believed the flu is not a serious illness.
The CDC said that even though the influenza virus can cause mild illness, there is also the risk of having a severe illness that could even lead to death in some cases.
People at risk of suffering severe illness from the virus include those over the age of 65, pregnant women, children below 5 years old and people with underlying conditions, added the CDC.
For NFID medical director William Schaffner, many might have also disregarded the need to get flu shots due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“With COVID, people have forgotten about influenza. This is another serious winter respiratory virus, it can do bad damage to you. The key to prevention is vaccination,” Schaffner said at the conference.
Instead of the flu shots, around 58% of Americans plan to wear masks to prevent the transmission of the virus.
The most common symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. Children may also have vomiting and diarrhea on top of the symptoms.