A survey of people in New York City shows that almost half say they are more likely to get a flu shot this year because of the emergence of Covid-19.
But the survey, by EmblemHealth, also showed that 80% of those who had not had a flu shot in the past three years did not plan to get one this year. Emblem’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Richard Dal Col, said that may be misleading.
“People may say something outright,” he said, “but the reality is when we talk to most of these people New Yorkers in general are very, very concerned about Covid, and reducing their likelihood of having to go to the hospital at all, so I suspect we may see a bump in the people getting the flu shot this year even though the survey didn’t necessarily show that.”
He urged everyone to get a flu shot, since he said getting the flu can weaken your immune response to Covid-19.
Dal Col said the survey showed where people live has a lot to do with whether they will get a vaccine. “Even in the zip codes you look at there’s a wide disparity,” he said. “For instance in Manhattan, we saw 84 percent got their flu shot but in the Bronx only 68 percent, so we have to really figure out why that is and try to adjust those issues and try to get people to get their flu shots.”
The survey showed men were more likely than women to get a flu shot, and that less than half of Black respondents reported having gotten a flu shot every year for the past three years, with many pointing to concerns about effectiveness and safety.
“I think a lot of this may still have to do with access to care,” said Dal Col, “and it basically becomes a trust issue, we’re really trying to go out into these communities with people who are the same culture.” The survey found that Black women overall were less likely than any other group to get the flu shot this year.