The last 2019/20 northern hemisphere influenza season overlapped with the first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Italy was the first western country where severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spread to a significant extent. In this representative cross-sectional survey, we aimed to describe some opinions and attitudes of the Italian general population towards both influenza vaccination and the COVID-19 pandemic, and to identify potential modifiers of the decision-making process regarding the uptake of the 2020/21 influenza vaccine. A total of 2543 responses were analyzed. Although most (74.8%) participants valued influenza vaccination positively and declared that it should be mandatory, some misconceptions around influenza persist. The general practitioner was the main source of trusted information on influenza vaccines, while social networks were judged to be the least reliable. Younger and less affluent individuals, subjects not vaccinated in the previous season, and those living in smaller communities showed lower odds of receiving the 2020/21 season influenza vaccination. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may have positively influenced the propensity of being vaccinated against 2020/21 seasonal influenza. In order to increase influenza vaccination coverage rates multidisciplinary targeted interventions are needed. The role of general practitioners remains crucial in increasing influenza vaccine awareness and acceptance by effective counselling.
- Vaccine hesitancy