90% of caregivers don't know kids need 2-dose flu shot, study finds

New research shows that caregivers whose children receive the first dose of influenza vaccine may be hesitant to allow them to receive the second dose, which may stem from false beliefs about the vaccine and disease.

A new American Academy of Pediatrics study examined vaccine beliefs among caregivers of children who received the first of two flu shots. The team, which includes researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City and the American Academy of Pediatrics, presented their findings at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2019 meeting in Baltimore that ended May 1.

The CDC notes that children, 6 months through 8 years of age, may require two doses of the flu vaccine. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose.

Researchers conducted the study during the 2017-18 flu season. They used a telephone survey to collect demographic information on caregivers and their child participating in the study. Each child had received one of two required doses of the flu vaccine. Caregivers then completed a validated measure of vaccine hesitancy and answered questions about the flu and vaccine.

They analyzed responses from 256 caregivers and found 11.7 percent of caregivers had moderate or high vaccine hesitancy.

Caregivers held the following false beliefs:

• "Flu is just a bad cold" — 40.2 percent
• Child will be protected with "only one flu shot" — 93.8 percent
• "Flu shot causes the flu" — 57 percent
• Children cannot "die from the flu" — 68 percent

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