A Third Of U.S. Parents Plan To Skip The Flu Shot For Their Kids This Year

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
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Despite last year’s deadly flu season, there are still plenty of parents not planning on having their child get the flu shot

In 2017, 80 percent of kids who died from the flu hadn’t received their flu shot. Despite last year’s terrifying statistic, a new survey finds that 34 percent of U.S. parents don’t plan on immunizing their kids for this year’s flu season.

The survey was conducted in October by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and found that while two-thirds of the 1,977 parents surveyed do plan to have their child vaccinated against the flu, the rest of them do not. They also found that 21 percent of parents don’t remember their healthcare provider making a recommendation on the vaccine and 26 percent say their provider did recommend it. 2 percent say their provider recommended their children not receive the shot.

The survey found that in deciding whether their children get the flu vaccine, 48 percent of parents said they usually follow the recommendation of their child’s health care provider, and 38 percent said they make the choice based on their own research. However, among those who usually take the doctor’s advice, a full 87 percent say their kids will get the flu shot this year.

Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan, tells CNN “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.”

Dr. William Schaffner is an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He tells CNN, “We don’t give the flu vaccine the credit it deserves.” Schaffner acknowledges that the shot isn’t a guarantee, but still emphasizes its importance. “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.”

179 children died of the flu last year, according to the CDC. Considering 80 percent of those kids weren’t vaccinated against it, that’s a pretty strong argument that the flu shot is a good idea, providing a child is healthy enough to receive immunizations.

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider with any concerns about the flu shot, but for the love of all that’s holy, don’t just read a few articles on the internet and call it good. As the sad statistics prove, lives are literally at stake.

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