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Poll suggests one-third of parents skipping flu vaccine for their children

Posted at 5:25 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 18:53:14-05

A 12-year-old boy was one of 8 children who died from the flu in Florida last year. Now, an online national poll suggests one-third of parents may skip getting their children vaccinated this season. Local MD Now Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Collins says he's only given a handful of flu vaccines this year. 

"The surprising thing to me is that I've seen very few parents bringing in their children for immunizations at this time," said Dr. Collins. 

The CDC reports nearly 60 percent of children ages 6 months to 17-years-old received flu vaccines last year, which was less than the year before. And a national poll suggests one-third of parents plan to skip it this year. 

"Often times parents will say getting the vaccine will cause the flu, we know this isn't true," said Dr. Collins. 

Other top reasons parents gave in the poll conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital is that they are concerned with side effects, or that their child is healthy and does not need it.

"Of the children that died last year, about half of them had no underlying respiratory or chronic health conditions which is pretty concerning," said Dr. Collins.

Casie Mull said her daughter has been getting the flu shot since she was a baby. 

"I think it prevents the flu because my daughter has been getting the shot and she hasn't had the flu,' said Mull. 

But there are some parents who don't believe it does anything. 

"I think it's a personal choice really, what it comes down to," said Harrison Richardson. 

Last flu season 179 children in the U.S. died from the flu. Dr. Collins says getting the shot will always be the best way to prevent the flu. 

"Often times the strains that are put into vaccine may or may not match that strain that is out there, but again, getting any vaccine will give you some immune protection," added Dr. Collins.  

Children ages 6 months old to 17-years-old can get the flu shot. For any child under 8 receiving the shot for the first time, they will have to do two shots a few weeks apart.