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'We're concerned people have a false sense of security': Doctors urging everyone to get a flu shot

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MADISON (WKOW) -- As doctors urge people who are eligible to get the newest COVID-19 booster shot, they also want people to remember their flu shot as as well.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, only 40 percent of people in Wisconsin got a flu shot last year. Typically about 50 to 55 percent of Wisconsinites get the annual shot.

UW Health's medical director of immunization programs, Dr. Jim Conway, that makes doctors concerned that there will be less carryover immunity.

"We're also concerned that people have a false sense of security that with all the things we did to try to mitigate COVID and didn't see a lot of flu over these last couple of seasons, that people didn't get the vaccine, didn't get the flu, and then start to wonder whether it's really important," said Conway.

Conway said that if people start getting their flu and COVID shots now and continue mitigation strategies that were so crucial during the pandemic, like hand washing and staying home when you're sick, that could help keep flu season from becoming incredibly severe. It would also help keep a winter COVID surge from getting out of control.

"I think if we can keep doing those things, and if more people can get themselves vaccinated, we could hopefully tamp down on what, at this point, is looking like it could be a particularly bad flu season," he said.

Flu vaccines are available to anyone six months or older.