Flu Season

Doctors Expect Severe Flu Season, Urge People to Get Vaccinated

Health experts are concerned that more people plan to skip the flu shot this year

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There is growing concern that this year's flu season has the potential to be severe.

Health experts said it is hard to predict just how bad it could be, but they are worried more people are skipping the flu shot.

According to a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, only 49% of adults said they plan on getting their flu shot this year. Doctors worry vaccine fatigue from the coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll.

"It is as important as ever to get the flu vaccine, even if you are 'vaccined out,'" Dr. Chris Garofalo said.

Garofalo, a family physician in Attleboro, said he has already heard of a few patients contracting the flu, and he is worried about the strain on the health care system.

"It's concerning because the emergency departments are still really busy due to COVID, and urgent cares are being overwhelmed, as well," Garofalo said.

Health experts are looking to places like Australia, which just got through winter and experienced its worst flu season in five years.

New York has already put out a warning after seeing an early spike in flu cases there. Massachusetts will start reporting flu numbers next week.

Several communities are hosting are their own flu shot clinics in the coming days, including Chelsea, Wellesley and Worcester.

St. John the Evangelist School in Attleboro hosted its annual flu shot clinic on Friday.

"I think bringing them to where they are makes it easier for them. It's more convenient for families with multiple kids," said Julianna Braza, the school's nurse.

The entire Juszczak family rolled up their sleeves at the school's clinic, including 6-year-old Ethan.

"It hurt, but only a little bit, and now I'm protected so I don't get it," he said.

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