FRIDAY, Oct. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Experts are warning that the upcoming flu season could be severe as social distancing measures are relaxed across the United States, but a new survey shows that six in 10 Americans may delay or skip a flu shot, according to a poll from the American Heart Association (AHA).

However, the survey also revealed that 98 percent of those who got a flu shot last season do plan to get one again this year.

While 82 percent of the 1,000 adult participants of the online survey said they are thinking more about their health due to COVID-19, only 26 percent said COVID-19 makes them more likely to get a flu shot this year. Hispanics were more likely to say COVID-19 had an impact on their flu shot decision (57 percent) compared with non-Hispanics (38 percent).

“If there has ever been a year to prioritize getting your flu shot at the beginning of the season, this is it,” AHA President Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., said in an association news 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.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot by Oct. 31 for the best seasonal protection and recommends the influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, with a few exceptions.

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