(HealthDay News) — Experts are warning that the upcoming flu season could be severe as social distancing measures are relaxed across the United States, but a new survey shows that six in 10 Americans may delay or skip a flu shot, according to a poll from the American Heart Association (AHA).

The survey, however, also revealed that 98% of those who got a flu shot last season do plan to get one again this year.

Although 82% of the 1,000 adult participants of the online survey said they are thinking more about their health due to COVID-19, only 26% said COVID-19 makes them more likely to get a flu shot this year. Hispanics were more likely to say COVID-19 had an effect on their flu shot decision (57%) compared with non-Hispanics (38 percent).

“If there has ever been a year to prioritize getting your flu shot at the beginning of the season, this is it,” AHA President Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., said in an association news release. “We recommend the flu shot for essentially everyone and particularly people who might be vulnerable because they have chronic health conditions — things like diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity — as well as people who are likely to be extra-exposed, like healthcare workers and people who are working in an essential front-line job where they come into contact with a lot of different people,” Lloyd-Jones said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot by Oct. 31 for the best seasonal protection and recommends the influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, with a few exceptions.

Press Release