PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Health officials are encouraging people to get their flu vaccine before the end of October.

The CDC said over the past two years, they’ve seen a disturbing decrease in the number of people getting the vaccine. They’re concerned one of the reasons might be anti-COVID vaccine sentiments.

After a two-year interruption sources said the CDC and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases are concerned about the flu comeback. They are also concerned about the lack of people getting flu shots.

CDC officials point to strong feelings against COVID vaccine and mask mandates may be one reason. Others may believe their COVID vaccine protects against the flu. Even though it’s been a mild season so far, they’re concerned it could be a bad year.

“The flu hospitalized people, there’s lost time at school, there’s lost time at work and even death from the flu,” Nurse Practitioner, Kim Lydick said. “So I would hope that people would be more anxious to get the influenza vaccine.”

Lydick said a pregnant woman and everyone over six months of age should get their flu shot. She also said people with heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and the very young are at high risk of falling seriously ill.

“Getting the flu vaccine is very important because influenza can put you in the hospital if you have high-risk, underlying disease, it can be deadly,” Lydick said. “We get secondary infections from influenza-like pneumonia, sinus infections, and ear infections. So you miss school, you miss work and it can make you very ill.”

Health officials said to prevent what could be a bad flu season, everyone should get a flu shot before the end of October. They also said flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and its complications.