Just a 3rd of fogeys consider that having their little one get the flu vaccine is extra necessary this 12 months than earlier years. Credit: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine.

COVID-19 could not affect dad and mom’ beliefs in regards to the flu vaccine, with simply 1/3 believing it’s extra necessary for youngsters to get vaccinated this 12 months.

The pandemic doesn’t appear to be altering dad and mom’ minds in regards to the significance of the flu vaccine.

It could possibly be a double whammy flu season this 12 months because the nation already faces a viral lethal illness with almost twin signs. And whereas public health consultants have emphasised the significance of individuals of all ages receiving seasonal flu vaccines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many dad and mom might not be getting that message.

Just a 3rd of fogeys consider that having their little one get the flu vaccine is extra necessary this 12 months, a nationwide ballot suggests.

And as colleges reopen for the primary time because the novel coronavirus outbreak, one in three dad and mom don’t plan to vaccinate youngsters towards the flu, in accordance to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine.

“We may see peaks of flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which could overwhelm the health care system, strain testing capacity and potentially reduce our ability to catch and treat both respiratory illnesses effectively,” says Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark.

“Our report finds that even during the pandemic, some parents don’t see the flu vaccine as more urgent or necessary. This heightens concerns about how the onset of flu season may compound challenges in managing COVID-19.”

Influenza has led to between 9 to 45 million sicknesses, 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths a 12 months since 2010, in accordance to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control.

Children youthful than 5, and particularly these youthful than two, are at high threat of growing severe flu-related issues. The CDC reported 188 pediatric flu deaths throughout the 2019-2020 flu season.

The nationally consultant Mott Poll report consists of 1,992 responses from dad and mom of youngsters age 2-18 years who have been surveyed in August.

Families who have been least possible to get youngsters vaccinated towards the flu have been those that didn’t accomplish that final 12 months — lower than a 3rd of these dad and mom say their little one will most likely get a flu vaccine this 12 months.

In distinction, amongst dad and mom who mentioned their little one acquired flu vaccine final 12 months, almost all (96%) intend to have their little one get flu vaccine this 12 months.

“A key challenge for public health officials is how to reach parents who do not routinely seek seasonal flu vaccination for their child,” Clark says. “When getting a yearly flu vaccine is not a pattern, parents need to be prompted to think about why it’s essential for their child to get vaccinated.”

And in accordance to the Mott Poll report, households whose supplier strongly recommends vaccination are extra possible to get youngsters vaccinated towards the flu.

Still, lower than half of fogeys say their little one’s common health care supplier strongly recommends that their little one get the flu vaccine this 12 months.

Clark notes that this can be due to the impression of COVID on the health care supply system, as many little one health suppliers have restricted the variety of sufferers seen for in-person visits, with elevated use of telehealth visits. This could cut back alternatives for suppliers to give a powerful suggestion about flu vaccination for youngsters and to reply dad and mom’ questions on flu vaccine security and effectiveness.

Given the lower in in-person visits, little one health suppliers ought to look for different methods, akin to reminder postcards or web site banners to emphasize the significance of youngsters getting the flu vaccine throughout this pandemic 12 months, Clark says.

Among the 32% of fogeys who say their little one is unlikely to get a flu vaccine this 12 months, the commonest causes embrace issues about unintended effects or beliefs that it isn’t needed or efficient.

But consultants say these notions are sometimes primarily based in misconceptions in regards to the flu vaccine, which nonetheless presents one of the best safety towards each contracting the virus and in addition growing extreme influenza-related sickness.

“There is a lot of misinformation about the flu vaccine, but it is the best defense for children against serious health consequences of influenza and the risk of spreading it to others,” Clark says.

Fourteen % of fogeys mentioned they won’t search the flu vaccine as a result of they’re preserving youngsters away from health care websites due to the danger of COVID publicity, in accordance to the Mott Poll.

“Most child health providers have made changes to their office environment to keep children safe during office visits and vaccinations,” says Clark. “Parents who are concerned about COVID exposure should contact their child’s provider to learn about what types of precautions have been put in place.”

Nine % of fogeys additionally say their little one is afraid of needles or doesn’t need to the get flu vaccine, which prevents them from scheduling an immunization. Mott groups advocate a number of methods, together with utilizing books and luxury positions to assist alleviate fears and nervousness amongst younger youngsters.

Parental intention relating to flu vaccine this 12 months can be barely decrease for dad and mom of teenagers in contrast to youthful youngsters (73% for youngsters ages 2-4, 70% for ages 5-12 and 65% for ages 13-18.)

Teens typically obtain the flu vaccine outdoors of their ordinary health care supplier workplace. Some of these choices could also be restricted by COVID, Clark notes, together with colleges, health festivals, and walk-in clinics at an area health division. However, many retail pharmacies are additionally increasing their flu vaccine companies to youngsters throughout the pandemic.

Reports from the state health division and CDC point out that throughout the pandemic, the general charges of childhood vaccinations dropped considerably in states like Michigan. Children appeared to be falling behind on vaccinations for ailments like measles and pertussis (whooping cough), magnifying public health issues about youngsters probably catching vaccine-preventable ailments.

Experts say the flu vaccine will assist restrict the stress on health care programs throughout the pandemic by lowering the variety of influenza-related hospitalizations and physician visits, and reducing the necessity for diagnostic exams to distinguish flu from COVID, which has related signs.

“Children should get the flu vaccine not only to protect themselves but to prevent the spread of influenza to family members and those who are at higher risk of serious complications,” Clark says.

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