CDC alert sparks heated debate about COVID-19 and flu vaccination on social media

The CDC recently issued a Health Alert Network advisory, emphasizing low vaccination rates for COVID-19 and the flu and highlighting potential strain on health care systems. A doctor in Ohio shared this alert on social media. In response, a prominent vaccine opponent on social media expressed optimism about low vaccination rates. In comments on the vaccine opponent’s post, some social media users claimed that vaccines are ineffective.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: These types of posts may discourage patients in the Midwest from getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine and this season’s flu vaccine during respiratory virus season. It is recommended doctors in the Midwest be prepared for questions about the efficacy of COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Talking points may emphasize that staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines reduces the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization, death, and long COVID and that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting sick with the flu, reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization, and reduces children’s risk of developing life-threatening influenza. The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine for everyone six months and older.