Doctors are calling the current flu season the worst in recent history thanks to a surprise appearance of influenza B, a more aggressive flu strain responsible for taking the lives of at least 30 children.
Despite this, many people, particularly millennials, are increasingly hesitant to vaccinate, according to NBC News. And it appears thoughts about anti-vaccination theories may play a role.
A recent survey commissioned by the American Academy of Family Physicians found less than half of American millennials received flu shots this year and close to one-third don’t intend to get one.
According to U.S. News and World Report, a quarter of millennials who didn’t get vaccinated reported they just didn’t have the time.
But the report found that anti-vaccination theories and beliefs may play a role, too. About 61% of millennials who know about the anti-vaccination movement said they agreed with parts of it, according to the survey.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 84% of Americans consider it important to vaccinate their children. Less than 50% of Americans were willing to firmly state they do not believe vaccines cause autism in children, despite CDC statements that there is no link between the two.
Dr. Alexa Mieses told NBC News he finds the growing influence of the anti-vaccine movement “very alarming,” and hopes that doctors will build better lines of trust and communication with millennials in order to encourage them to get flu shots.
According to NBC News, “Overwhelming evidence shows that vaccination — including the flu shot — is safe. And all major medical groups urge nearly everyone over age six months to get the yearly flu vaccine.”