Most Parents Do Not Want Their
Kids Getting The H1N1 Flu Shot
A national survey suggests parents are confused about the risks
of the virus and its vaccine.
Germ-spreading schoolchildren are expected to be the focus of
a massive U.S. vaccination campaign against the novel H1N1 flu.
But if their parents are hearing the rallying cry to have their
kids vaccinated, they're not buying it, says a new national survey.
In a poll of 1,678 U.S. parents conducted by the University of
Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, 40% said they would
get their children immunized against the H1N1 virus -- even as
54% indicated they would get their kids vaccinated against regular
Among those who said they do not intend to have their kids vaccinated
against H1N1, almost half -- 46% -- indicated they're not worried
about their children becoming ill with the pandemic virus. Twenty
percent said they do not believe the H1N1 flu is a serious disease.
There were differences along racial and ethnic lines in parents'
responses, which were collected Aug. 13 to Aug. 31. More than
half of Latino parents said they would bring their kids to get
vaccinated against H1N1. Among white parents, 38% said they would
do so. African American parents were the least inclined to vaccinate:
30% said they planned to do so.
About half of the parents who said they'd pass on the H1N1 flu
shot for their kids expressed concern about possible side effects
of the vaccine.
The chatter about seasonal flu and novel H1N1 flu, and the differences
in their relative virulence, has certainly confused parents, the
survey suggests. Half of respondents said they believe that, for
children, seasonal and H1N1 flu pose roughly equivalent risks.
"That perception may not match the actual risks," Dr.
Matthew Davis, the poll director, said in a statement. Davis is
a University of Michigan professor of pediatrics and internal
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that
though serious complications of seasonal flu appear to spare most
kids and strike the elderly and very young most heavily, the novel
H1N1 flu appears to hit children and young adults hardest.
Not surprisingly, parents who believe that the H1N1 flu will
be worse for children were most likely to say they will have their
own children vaccinated.
In a news release accompanying the poll results, Davis said that
public health officials wishing to maximize vaccination rates
among schoolchildren need to communicate clearly to their parents
that kids are at relatively greater risk of becoming seriously
ill with the novel flu strain if they get it.
Reference Source 130
September 25, 2009