According to a new poll, one-third of American parents don’t plan on getting their kids a flu shot this year — despite the COVID-19 pandemic
Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone — including children over the age of six months — get a flu shot. Not only can the annual jab prevent the flu, but it can also decrease the severity of an infection if someone does happen to get the flu — which can potentially be life-saving as up to 61,000 people die every year from the illness. Seeing as though we are in the midst of a deadly pandemic, health experts are warning that getting a flu shot is even more important than ever — not just for the health of individuals but for the healthcare system as a whole. However, according to a new survey, an overwhelming number of parents still aren’t planning on bringing their children in for the annual vaccine.
According to the National Poll on Children’s Health released Monday, at least one out of three parents won’t be vaccinating their children for the flu this year. And, even though health experts — including officials from the CDC and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci — are warning that the annual shot is more important than ever, two-thirds of parents don’t believe that this is the case.
“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the CDC clearly states on their website.
The survey found that parents who didn’t get their child vaccinated during the 2019-2020 flu season were the most likely to resist it this year. However, 96 percent who did get it last year plan on getting it again. In contrast, of those who reported their child skipped the vaccine last year, only 28 percent say their child is likely to get vaccinated this season. In total, one-third of parents (34 percent) believe that the flu shot is more important this year, while 8 say it is less important, and 58 percent believe it to be about the same.
The most common reasoning parents had for forgoing the flu shot has to do with their concerns about potential side effects of the vaccine, or due to a belief that the flu shot isn’t effective. Fourteen percent of parents claimed they were simply keeping their children away from the doctor’s office because they are afraid they will contract the COVID-19 virus there.
While children might not be at the increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 infections and rarely die as a result of the highly infectious virus, this isn’t the case with the flu.
“Children younger than 5 years old — especially those younger than 2 — are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications,” states the CDC.
According to statistics, 188 children were reported dead as a result of the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season. However, the CDC believes the number is much higher, closer to 600 deaths. Additionally, anywhere from 7,000 and 26,000 children under 5 are hospitalized in America as a result of flu-related illness every year.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 624,890 children are confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19, and the numbers are increasing daily. In fact in the two weeks between September 3 and 17, there was a 14 percent increase in infections.