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1 in 3 Parents Say No to Influenza Vaccinations

In a national survey, parents responded they would not be getting a vaccine for their kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a national poll with nearly 2000 respondents, 1 in 3 parents surveyed said they are not going to get the influenza vaccine this year. This information comes from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at Michigan Medicine.

Among the 32% of parents who say their child is unlikely to get a flu vaccine this year, the most common reasons include concerns about side effects or beliefs that it isn't necessary or effective.

However, these ideas are often based in misconceptions about the flu vaccine, according to experts which they say still offer the best protection against both contracting the virus and also developing severe influenza-related illness.

"There is a lot of misinformation about the flu vaccine, but it is the best defense for children against serious health consequences of influenza and the risk of spreading it to others," Sarah Clark. Mott Poll co-director, said.

Along with misconceptions about the effectiveness of the vaccine, another challenge to some families getting a vaccine is going to their doctors or other places where the vaccines are administered.

Of these, 14% of parents said they will not seek it because they are keeping children away from health care sites due to the risk of COVID exposure.

"Most child health providers have made changes to their office environment to keep children safe during office visits and vaccinations," Clark said."Parents who are concerned about COVID exposure should contact their child's provider to learn about what types of precautions have been put in place."

Also, 9% of parents also say their child is afraid of needles or does not want to the get flu vaccine, which prevents them from scheduling an immunization.

For those parents who do plan on getting their kids vaccinated, Parental intention regarding flu vaccine this year is also slightly lower for parents of teens compared to younger children including 73% for children ages 2-4, 70% for ages 5-12 and 65% for ages 13-18.

And among parents who said their child got the vaccine last year, nearly all (96%) intend to have their child get flu vaccine this year.