One-Third of Parents Won’t Be Giving Kids Flu Vaccine This Year: Study

About one-third of parents who responded to a survey conducted by University of Michigan Child Health Evaluation and Research Center said their child was unlikely to get a flu vaccine this year. According to the university’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, two-thirds of parents said their child would be receiving a flu vaccine this year and 34 percent of parents said their child would skip it. Forty-eight percent of parents said they typically follow the flu vaccine guidance of their child’s health care provider, while 38 percent stated they “make their own decision based on what they read or hear.” Of the parents who claim they follow the information they gather themselves, only 56 percent said their child would get the flu vaccine this year. The poll also found parents who claimed their child would not be vaccinated said they were dissuaded based on information given to them through family or close friends (45 percent), other parents (44 percent), and the internet (40 percent)—along with comments from doctors, nurses, and parenting books. The poll concluded there was an “echo chamber” among parents who supported and opposed the vaccine, with parents against the vaccine reporting “seven times as many information sources that made them question or not want to have their child vaccinated.” “[F]or many parents, child health providers are not the sole influence, or even the primary influence, on decisions about flu vaccine,” the study said.