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The fall and winter respiratory season is fast approaching, and new data shows many Americans are not planning to protect themselves with vaccines for the flu, COVID-19, or RSV.
Top public health experts are spreading the word that vaccines are safe, effective and protect against serious illness. “We’re gonna keep monitoring to understand how bad this particular season will be,” Director of the CDC Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “We can act now with tools to make this season more mild/if we all get vaccinated.”
A new survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases shows while 65% of adults know vaccination is the best way to prevent flu hospitalizations and deaths, 43% do not plan to or are not sure they will get vaccinated. Only 40% plan to get the new updated COVID-19 vaccine and the RSV shot if they are over 60.
“28% of adults at high risk for flu-related complications said they were not planning to get vaccinated,” said registered nurse and president of the NFID Patsy Stinchfield. “To us in this business that is worrisome.”
Last flu season was moderately severe and activity levels returned to pre-pandemic levels.
There were 31 million illnesses, 360,000 hospitalizations and 21,000 deaths. For the season, 176 pediatric deaths were also associated with flu which was the third largest number since reporting began nearly 20 years ago. More than 80% of those were not fully vaccinated against flu.
The CDC reminds that multiple vaccines at one time is a safe and effective way of giving multiple illness protection.