More Americans overall have been getting their flu vaccines this year, according to a report by NBC News. The vaccination rate for Black children, however, is down, raising concern among CDC officials that Black Americans may be forgoing shots.
A CDC survey shows that 33 percent of Black children have been vaccinated against the flu this year, a significant decrease from last November’s 44 percent.
“It’s certainly a point of concern,” Dr. Ram Koppaka, director of the Immunization Services Division at the CDC, told the news outlet. “We’ll monitor this over the coming weeks very closely.”
Public health officials are not entirely clear why rates are down but they are worried that a surge in flu cases could parallel the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted Black Americans severely.
Dr. Koppaka said regardless of the reason, healthcare officials have clear work to do with communities of color when it comes to vaccines and preventative health measures.
As the nation awaits the final approval for the COVID-19 vaccine, health officials are closely monitoring the annual flu season, which has been reportedly mild so far, but they are hoping to prevent a double pandemic situation.
Manufacturers of flu vaccines are reportedly making a record-breaking 194 million to 198 million doses ahead of the flu season. Last year, they produced about 175 million doses.
Surveys indicate trust in the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine is particularly low among African Americans, whose history with the medical field is complicated and exploitive.
The CDC reports that getting a flu vaccine this year is especially important given the toll of COVID-19 on hospitals, who may not be able to handle an influx of flu patients.
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