The return of flu season has also meant the return of vaccine misinformation.

As many people are heading out to get flu shots and COVID-19 boosters, others may be avoiding them based on misinformation about the risks they pose. That’s a problem for health care professionals trying to combat a tough season for viral infections.

Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease expert with Novant Health, says the best way to counter misinformation is with straightforward medical facts in a nonpolitical way. But he says for many people, science and politics have become intertwined.

“This is the first pandemic in the age of social media," he says. "And social media has failed us, unfortunately, in this space.” 

Dr. Priest says Novant has seen an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday, with the majority of hospitalizations being among the unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.

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