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Majority of Baltimore Residents Not Vaccinated Against Flu, Despite “Twindemic” Fears


Public health experts are warning of the possibility of what they’re calling a twindemic this year, if a bad flu season and COVID-19 coincide.

Rebecca Dineen, the assistant commissioner of the Baltimore health department’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, told a City Council committee Tuesday the ongoing pandemic may be contributing to public distrust of flu vaccines among Baltimore residents.

And she urged council members to fight against misinformation about flu vaccines.

“A lot of residents are saying, hey, every other year, I've gotten the flu shot, but I'm not going to do it this year,” she told the Health Committee at a morning hearing.

Dineen said that while flu vaccination rates, currently at 19%, aren’t necessarily lower than that of previous years, the city still has a long way to go.

“We have a whole lot of partners, and still we're struggling to get these vaccination rates up,” Dineen said. “We should really be paying attention to this because if we’re having trouble with flu, this may have some foreboding for what's going to be happening with COVID.”

Earlier this year, Baltimore City announced its goal to get 70% of residents vaccinated against the flu. Dineen said that’s the necessary percentage for herd immunity.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.
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