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Flu shots rates are declining in 2021

A person getting a vaccine in their arm.
Flu shots need to be given each year, and are formulated based on the flu strains scientists predict will be most prevalent.

Fewer people are getting the flu shot this year, which could lead to problems if hospitals become overloaded with both flu and COVID patients.

Southern 7 Health Department Outreach Coordinator Shawnna Rhine said that some people avoid the shot because it's not 100 percent effective. But, she said, it can still make a big difference.

"By getting your flu vaccine, even if you do contract that other variant of the flu, it is going to protect you to some degree, it is going to reduce your chance of severe illness, hospitalization, and of course death, so you do want to make sure that you get that," Rhine said.

Rhine said other reasons people aren't getting the shot this year include people who think they don't need it because they had it last year, and those who think the COVID vaccine prevents flu.

The COVID and flu vaccines are two separate vaccinations, and the flu shot has to be given each year to protect against new and changing strains of flu.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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