DENVER — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging communities of color to get the flu vaccine.
According to the CDC, this year about 55% of the white population in the U.S. has received the flu vaccine.
But just 40% of the Black population and 38% of the Latino population has received the flu shot.
“This time is more crucial than any other time in our living history,” said Dr. Willie Underwood of the American Medical Association. “We have the pandemic going on… and we know that people are being hospitalized still and those rates are going up.”
Underwood said as with the COVID-19 vaccine, there are a number of reasons flu vaccination rates are low in communities of color including misinformation, poverty, and lack of trust in medicine.
Underwood said he understands why communities of color are skeptical, but noted it’s important to get both shots.
“The real conspiracy is to not get it. The crime is to die disproportionately, to be sick disproportionately, because you just didn’t get the vaccine and you allowed someone to trick you into believing that it was more harmful to you than it was beneficial,” Underwood said.
Underwood said during a severe flu season, there have been as many as 41 million illnesses and 710,000 hospitalizations among Americans.
“When you add low vaccination rates onto that, you have a problem again, adding onto the healthcare system of increasing hospitalizations, increasing deaths, and increasing sickness,” Underwood said.
Underwood said for those who are still unvaccinated, he recommends getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.