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Significantly more Americans plan to get flu shot this year, poll finds

Less than half of American adults on average get the vaccine each year. A new poll finds that may change this fall.

About 2-in-5 U.S. adults say they will likely get the flu vaccine this year, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. That's about a 15% increase from the average who actually have gotten it since 2010.

There is no evidence that the flu shot is an effective way to treat COVID-19. But there is concern that medical facilities could be overwhelmed next season with a potential double-whammy: influenza patients and coronavirus patients. And it's possible to have both at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says 45.3% of U.S. adults have been vaccinated for the flu each year between the 2010-11 season and 2018-19 season. But the Reuters poll found about 60% of U.S. adults said they definitely would get vaccinated against the flu or were planning to do so this fall.

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The poll also found about 40% of respondents to the poll had gotten a flu shot in each of the last five years. Thirty percent said the had not received one in five years.

Whites, higher educated people, higher wage earners, suburbanites and Democrats registered as more likely to plan or definitely get the flu vaccine than their counterparts.

Still, more than 50% of nearly every demographic group listed by Reuters in its published results indicated they are planning on getting it. The one exception: 46% of black respondents said they were planning to or definitely getting the vaccine.

Reuters also reports U.S. pharmacies including CVS and Rite Aid are making preparations now to ensure they are ready for increased demand this fall. 

A flu shot typically costs about $40 for an adult dose. Many health insurance plans cover that.

The CDC's preliminary estimates show up to 740,000 people were hospitalized and 62,000 died from the flu in the 2019-2020 season.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. 

The poll of 4,428 adults was taken May 13-19 with a margin of error of 2%.