How Has the Pandemic Changed Opinions About the Flu Shot?

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With cold weather approaching, there’s growing concern about a possible twin-demic.

The coronavirus is still here and doctors are worried people will not take flu season -- or flu shots -- very seriously, especially after all the recent arguments over COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine hesitancy, when it comes to flu shots, is a very real thing, according to doctors.

“I never get the flu shot,” San Diegan Rob Kench said.

“I started working in a hospital and then I did get the flu shot, but prior to that I never did,” Shona Neufeld said. “I would always get the flu.”

And after getting a COVID-19 vaccine some might be left wondering, “If I have had my two COVID-19 shots or my single shot, do I need a flu shot?”

Dr. Paul Schalch-Lepe, a San Diego ear, nose and throat specialist, provided answers.

“They are two different diseases,” Dr. Schalch-Lepe said. “Two different viruses. It is important to be protected for both.”

Between the misinformation surrounding COVID and vaccines, and the negative reaction to vaccine mandates, some think flu shots won’t be well received.

“Maybe the trend is that maybe the flu vaccine isn’t as popular as it used it be. I understand why,” San Diegan Bob Kench said.

In fact, there is legitimate concern, Shalch-Lepe says, that some people will be turned off this flu season.

“You already have people that are hesitant or reluctant to get the COVID vaccine and that might open up a discussion towards, like, ‘Do we even need other vaccines? Why are vaccines important? I don’t want vaccines in my body,’” Schalch-Lepe said.

The CDC says the number of flu cases were down significantly last year because of the COVID prevention measures. Now that things are back open again, the agency is predicting a severe flu season in 2021.

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