Public Not Concerned About Covid/Flu/RSV “Tridemic,” New Poll Shows

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Many Long Island and New York City residents are unwilling to get vaccinated or adjust their holiday plans amid a “tridemic” of Covid-19, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), results from a new poll suggest.

Mount Sinai South Nassau’s most recent “Truth in Medicine” poll surveyed 600 residents, many of whom said they believe the flu shot would make them sick or that the Covid vaccine is unsafe or unnecessary. However, doctors and medical professionals strongly recommend the vaccines.

“This fall and winter, the flu is highly contagious along with Covid-19 and RSV,” said Mount Sinai South Nassau President Dr. Adhi Sharma. “The flu and Covid-19 vaccines have been updated, and they are safe and very effective. I strongly urge people to take action now and get vaccinated.”

Less than two-thirds of the poll respondents have received a flu shot or a Covid-19 booster shot this season. Sixty percent of respondents said they have little concern mingling in large groups, and 36% plan to attend a large holiday gathering. In addition, 93% do not plan to change their holiday plans despite the simultaneous spread of Covid, flu, and RSV.

Experts at Mount Sinai South Nassau say the mix of unvaccinated people gathering in large groups is cause for concern. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been at least 8.7 million flu cases, 78,000 flu hospitalizations, and 4,500 flu deaths this season, a significant increase from the same time last year. 

The poll also showed that residents were unaware of the “tridemic”: 8% of respondents have “heard a lot” about it, while 31% have “heard some,” 27% have “not heard much,” and 30% have “heard nothing.” 

Doctors noted that RSV can be dangerous for young children and older adults. Though there is no vaccine for the disease, the public should take measures such as washing hands, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, coughing and sneezing into the arm, and staying home if symptoms arise.

Protection against these diseases also helps to prevent pneumonia, which can be a complication of the flu virus and kills about 60,000 Americans annually, experts say.

“If you have never received the ‘pneumonia vaccine’ against pneumococcal pneumonia, those 65 years or older or between the ages of 19 through 64 with underlying medical conditions or risk factors should discuss getting it with their doctors,” said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, chair of the Department of Medicine, chief of Infectious Diseases, and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for adults 65 years or older and that you discuss it with your physician at the earliest opportunity.”

To learn more about the “Truth in Medicine” poll, visit southnassau.org/sn/truth-in-medicine.