3 reasons parents skip their children's flu shot

While influenza leads to more deaths and hospitalizations than any other vaccine-preventable disease, parents often bypass immunization, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

For the study, researchers tested 131 pediatric patients in a small suburban practice for influenza, during the 2012-2013 flu season. An examination of medical records plus parental questionnaires determined vaccination and disease histories, along with influenza vaccine attitudes. The top three reasons for forgoing influenza vaccination were:

1. Thinking the vaccine is unnecessary
2. Fear of vaccination side effects
3. Not remembering to get their child vaccinated

"The first and most common reason could encompass a belief that risk for contracting influenza is low in their family as well as that the vaccine offers little protection," said study author Scott Field, MD, of the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. "A reason rarely discussed in the medical literature relating to why many parents do not think influenza vaccines are needed is the infrequency with which many individuals and families experience influenza first hand."

Additionally, researchers found the hepatitis A vaccine to be more widely utilized among participants than the influenza vaccine, though hepatitis A is a relatively low risk disease compared to influenza.

More articles on infection control: 
10 most-read infection control stories in September 
Mysterious rash outbreak strikes Calif. elementary school 
Dengue detected in Miami Zika search

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