By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — Health experts are warning that this year’s flu season could be worse than average.

As the temperatures drop in the Northeast, people are driven indoors where they are more likely to come into close contact, breathe the same air, and share respiratory germs with one another, like cold viruses and the flu.

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Last year due to widespread masking and social distancing, many people didn’t get sick. In fact, it was an incredibly mild flu season.

As a result, some public health officials are concerned that this flu season could be particularly bad since we didn’t build up much immunity from the last flu season.

Add COVID-19 on top of that, we could be in for a doozy this winter, and so could emergency rooms, hospitals, and health care systems in general.

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So it’s particularly disappointing to hear that people may be less likely to get vaccinated against the flu this year.

A new study found 44 percent of Americans do not plan to get a flu shot this year or weren’t sure if they would get it. The survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases questioned more than 1,0000 people. Most said they didn’t think the flu shot works very well.

While some don’t believe the flu vaccine is that effort, but it is still worth getting vaccinated.

The efficacy of the flu vaccines varies from year to year. Some years it’s a better match to the circulating strains than others. But just like with the COVID-19 vaccines, if you’re vaccinated against the flu, even if you catch the flu, you’re less likely to get really sick and end up in the hospital or dying from it.

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So please, everyone over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine. And the time do it is now. And you can get your COVID-19 vaccine on the same day as your flu vaccine.

Dr. Mallika Marshall