Why aren’t parents getting their children vaccinated against flu?

According to a report, which was published by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, it’s estimated that 34% of parents in the US will most likely not be getting their child vaccinated against the flu. The poll was carried out last month. It asked nearly 2,000 parents whether they would be getting their child the vaccine, as well as their reasoning.

Of the parents who were surveyed, 48% said that, usually, they follow recommendations set out by a health care provider when it comes to getting vaccinated. But, 21% of the parents questions said they couldn’t recall a health care provider recommending that their child should get a vaccine this year.

Those parents who said they would be getting their child vaccinated this year said that their reason for this is that they had heard more positive feedback than negative. This was by a margin of 4 to 1. However, parents who had chosen not to get the flu shot had reported hearing a lot of negative comments. Some of the most common reasons parents gave for not vaccinating their children included concerns about the side effects and the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan commented: “To me, the biggest takeaway is that there is a group of parents who look like they have a gap in expert guidance around whether kids should get flu vaccines, specifically whether their kid should get flu vaccine.”

In last year’s flu season, there were 179 reported deaths of children in the US. And hundreds more were hospitalized due to flu. The CDC have reported that of the children who died, 80% were unvaccinated. With the number of vaccinations in children between the age of 6 months and 17 years decreasing, the CDC and health groups have warned of the risks of not vaccinating children.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the report, said: “We don’t give the flu vaccine the credit it deserves. The vaccine is not perfect, none of us believe it is, but it’s the best thing we have for preventing influenza, and even if it doesn’t prevent the illness completely, and this is very important, it tends to make the illness milder”.

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