Flu season is in full effect, but some parents are still skipping the vaccination for their kids, according to a new report.
C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan recently conducted a study to determine how many parents are taking their children to get the flu shot.
To do so, they administered an online poll, which examined nearly 2,000 parents in America who had at least one child age 1-18. The questionnaire asked the adults if they were planning to vaccinate their children, their reasoning and the information they received about the medication.
After analyzing the results, they found 34 percent of parents said their child was unlikely to get the flu shot this season. About 48 percent of them said they usually followed the recommendations of child’s doctor, and 21 percent said they did not remember their health care provider making a recommendation about their child receiving the flu shot.
“Child health providers are a critical source of information to explain the rationale for annual flu vaccination and to address parents’ questions about flu vaccine safety and effectiveness,” coauthor Sarah Clark said in a statement. “Without clear guidance from the provider, parents may be left with misinformation, such as the suggestion that flu vaccine causes the flu.”
Those who said they would not be getting the flu shot for their children said family, close friends and other parents made them question the flu vaccine or opt against vaccinating their kids. In fact, they reported having seven times as many sources speaking out against vaccination than for it, the findings revealed.
Some of the subjects said they were too busy. Others said they were worried about side effects or feared the vaccination wasn’t effective. And a few said they did not get strong recommendations from their doctors.
“There appears to be an echo chamber around flu vaccine,” Clark said. “Parents who are not choosing flu vaccination for their child report hearing or reading opinions that question or oppose the vaccine. At the same time, parents who decided their child will get flu vaccine report opinions that largely support vaccination.”
Parents who decided to get their child vaccinated reported hearing more positive comments than negative ones.
Experts recommend everyone over six months should get the shot. Children under the age of eight who are receiving the shot for the first time should receive two doses spaced a month apart to build their immunity.
During the 2017-2018 season, 180 children died after contracting the illness, which was the most severe on record.