One-third of US parents plan to skip flu shots for their kids this season

Thirty-four percent of US parents said their child was unlikely to get the flu vaccine this year, according ...

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 11:24 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 11:24 AM

Thirty-four percent of US parents said their child was unlikely to get the flu vaccine this year, according to a report published Monday by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

The online poll, which was administered in October, looked at 1,977 parents who had at least one child, whether parents would get their children the flu vaccine and their reasoning, among other things.

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Families and children

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Influenza

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Parents and parenting

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United States

Of parents polled, 48% said they usually followed the recommendations of their child's health care provider when making choices about the flu vaccine.

However, 21% of those surveyed did not remember their health care provider making a recommendation about their child receiving the flu shot.

"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," said Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan.

Parents who were making the choice to get their child vaccinated reported hearing more positive than negative comments, by a margin of about 4 to 1, whereas those who chose not to vaccinate their children heard a lot more negative commentary, Clark said.

During the last flu season, 179 children died, with hundreds hospitalized due to flu-related illnesses, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that 80% of the children who died were unvaccinated.

The CDC said last flu season, 57.9% of children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years received flu vaccines, less than the year before. Approximately 155.3 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed to people of all ages last season.

"We don't give the flu vaccine the credit it deserves," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

"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," said Schaffner, who was not involved in the new report.

Some of the reasons parents give for not vaccinating their children include being too busy and not getting strong recommendations from their medical providers, according to Schaffner.

In the poll, the top three reasons parents cited for not getting their children vaccinated, according to Clark, were that they were concerned about side effects, that it doesn't work very well and that their currently healthy child does not need to be vaccinated.

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Reported Deaths: 1731
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19873842
Ramsey7827270
Dakota4610106
Anoka3841115
Stearns292820
Washington222748
Olmsted179123
Nobles17777
Scott163422
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Carver8993
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Todd4302
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Freeborn3611
Nicollet35613
Steele3562
Benton3253
Winona26616
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McLeod2240
Martin2105
Chisago2091
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Becker1621
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Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 50230

Reported Deaths: 955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10612210
Woodbury377052
Black Hawk320066
Linn245689
Johnson213820
Dallas193235
Buena Vista180012
Scott176815
Dubuque173431
Marshall145627
Pottawattamie136729
Story118915
Wapello93435
Muscatine86048
Webster8498
Crawford7393
Cerro Gordo65617
Sioux6533
Warren5861
Tama55729
Jasper48427
Wright4821
Plymouth47912
Clinton4344
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2723
Franklin25512
Hamilton2551
Bremer2337
Clarke2063
Clay2021
Carroll2012
Des Moines1992
Emmet1934
Shelby1881
Hardin1860
Marion1830
Floyd1673
Benton1621
Jackson1601
Poweshiek1608
Allamakee1584
Mahaska14217
Henry1404
Guthrie1385
Buchanan1351
Cedar1351
Jones1352
Butler1312
Lee1294
Madison1282
Hancock1242
Humboldt1241
Delaware1231
Lyon1232
Pocahontas1212
Harrison1131
Cherokee1101
Clayton1093
Winneshiek1021
Page1000
Taylor1000
Iowa981
Kossuth970
Mills941
Monona920
Winnebago920
Palo Alto910
Fayette900
Calhoun872
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Grundy831
Union811
Mitchell800
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Howard510
Fremont450
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Ida330
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