Many Parents Know Kids Can Die From the Flu But Still Won’t Vaccinate Their Children

It’s flu season again and the Center for Disease Control recommends the annual influenza vaccination for everyone six months and older. Yet, not a lot of Americans will listen.

In a new study the Harris Poll conducted for CareDox and Families Fighting Flu, we found that a majority of Americans (85%) understand that otherwise healthy children can die from the flu, yet nearly half of parents of kids under 18 have still not had their children vaccinated and 17% of parents don’t plan to get their children vaccinated this flu season.

According to the CDC, 2017 was the worst flu season on record, with an estimated 79,000 deaths, including 185 children. Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination that season. This year’s flu season is already underway, and there have already been two reported pediatric flu deaths.

The survey found that parents weren’t vaccinating their children because they don’t believe the flu vaccine works (55%), they think the vaccine isn’t safe (52%) and some even believe they can get the flu from the vaccine (32%)

“Parents may believe that children, even healthy children, dying from flu is a rare occurrence,” said Serese Marotta, chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu, in a press release. “But the members of our organization, including myself, can tell you that flu hospitalizations and deaths occur much more frequently than we’d like to think. And we want parents to know that annual flu vaccination is the best defense we have against influenza.”

Families Fighting Flu and CareDox are collaborating to combat the myths surrounding flu and the flu vaccination, with the aim of increasing flu vaccination rates for school-age children this season. Families Fighting Flu will provide flu facts as well as stories of families that have been adversely impacted by this disease to raise awareness about the dangers of flu while CareDox will make it easy for parents to locate and sign up for no-cost school-located vaccine clinics in their areas through its website.