Health & Fit Survey: 37 percent of Americans plan to skip flu vaccine this season
Flu shot is critical, but only half of American adults plan to get it
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases stressed the importance of the flu shot this season."Flu is unpredictable but we can predict that it will arrive," Dr. Bill Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), said at a news conference Thursday.
Thirty-seven percent of American adults don't plan to get flu shots this season, according to a poll released Tuesday.
A survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago found those who don't plan to get shots have concerns about the side effects of the vaccine or think it doesn't work very well.
Others said they never get the flu, don't like needles or are concerned they will get the flu from the vaccine.
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"Widespread misconceptions exist regarding the safety and efficacy of flu shots," said Caitlin Oppenheimer, senior vice president of Public Health Research at NORC at the University of Chicago.
"Because of the way the flu spreads in a community, failing to get a vaccination not only puts you at risk but also others for whom the consequences of the flu can be severe," she added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccinations for those 6 months of age and older.
As of early November, 44 percent of adults said they have received a flu shot while another 18 percent said they still plan to get vaccinated.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies every season. The vaccine is developed annually to protect against three or four strains of the flu virus that researchers predict will be most prevalent in the upcoming season.
Last year's vaccine was only 29 percent effective, largely because of a strain that began circulating during the second half of the flu season.
Still, the CDC says flu vaccines are the best protection against the virus, which kills thousands of Americans every year.
Some studies also show flu symptoms are less severe in those who are vaccinated.
Millennials least likely to get a flu shot, and anti-vax beliefs may play a role .
Parents are also more likely to forgo flu shots for their kids because of myths surrounding the vaccine.
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