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The data shows that 1 in 5 respondents at higher risk for influenza-related complications reported that they do not plan to get the annual vaccine this season. People over 65 years old, pregnant people, patients with underlying conditions, and children under five face a significant risk of severe outcomes if infected with the flu, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The NFID survey found that while nearly 70 percent of people agreed that the annual flu shot was the best way to prevent fatal influenza infections, many are still electing not to get the vaccine this year. CNBC reports that 58 percent of the Americans surveyed plan to wear masks at least part of the time to protect themselves during flu season, which exceeds the number who plan to get the shot.
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Per the NFID survey, some of the top reasons for not getting the vaccine include believing that the flu shot is ineffective and concerns over potential side effects.
"With COVID, people have forgotten about influenza," said William Schaffner, medical director of NFID, at an NFID conference on Tuesday. "This is another serious winter respiratory virus, it can do bad damage to you. The key to prevention is vaccination."
The survey polled 1,005 adult respondents throughout the United States and was conducted via phone and web between Aug. 11 and 15. The overall margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points.