With flu season approaching, medical and public health professionals across the country are bracing for the potential of continued issues with COVID-19 overlapping with a flu outbreak to create what some are calling a “twindemic.” While flu activity is low at the moment and more than 120 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed, there remains the challenge of convincing people nationwide to get a flu shot. In 2019, only around 45 percent of adults were vaccinated. This figure is concerning during a typical year, and exacerbated by the overlap of symptoms of the COVID-19 and the flu, along with concerns around hospital capacity.
Dr. Melinda Forthofer is a professor of public health sciences at UNC Charlotte whose research focuses on social factors related to health behavior change. She is available to discuss the topics below.
- Why is it particularly important for people to get a flu shot this year?
- What is the outlook on the interaction of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and flu season?
- What obstacles do public health professionals typically encounter when trying to push vaccinations?
- Are there particular groups for which getting vaccinated is especially encouraged?
- When is the best time to get a flu shot?
- Do you see this as an opportunity to spread awareness about public health implications of vaccinations?