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State health officials fear COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy will affect flu vaccine uptake

State health officials say they’re worried fewer people will get vaccinated against the flu this year.

Indiana recently recorded its first flu death of the season. And the state has offered the flu vaccine at some of its COVID-19 vaccination sites, since the two can be taken together.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said she’s concerned about the larger implications of COVID vaccine hesitancy.

“That … the political nature that has, you know, surrounded that will then bleed off into other childhood vaccines and influenza vaccines that people tend to get on a yearly basis,” Box said.

The percentage of Hoosiers that get their flu shot each year consistently trails the national average. And Indiana ranks near the bottom of the country for the percent of people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.