Poll: Parents rate flu vaccines less important than other vaccines

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A new national poll by conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital reveals that  59% of parents who don't get their children flu shots, rate flu vaccines as less important, effective and safe than other vaccines.

The study shows the remaining 14% of parents get their children flu shots and believe the vaccine to be important.

Public health officials recommend flu shots for all children beginning at 6 months and continuing through the age of 18 since 2008. In the study, more than half of parents polled stated their child has received a flu shot this season. Also less than half of the parents polled  who did not get their child a flu shot, say the vaccine does not work as good as other vaccines and that the vaccine has more side effects than others.

"Despite substantial public health efforts, flu vaccine rates for U.S. children are well below national targets," says lead author Sarah J. Clark M.P.H., associate director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health and associate research scientist in the UM Department of Pediatrics.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) indicates roughly 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized each year due to flu complications, with some of those illnesses leading to death.

Clark also says, “Health care providers can play an important role in addressing parents’ negative beliefs about flu vaccine. To do so, they should fully explain and strongly recommend an annual flu vaccine for all children.”

To see complete poll results click here