One in three parents do not intend to have their child vaccinated against influenza this season, according to a new poll, despite the potential threat of another wave of COVID-19 cases.
Health officials have increasingly stressed the importance of vaccinations this year, partly to limit stress on the health system during the coronavirus pandemic. If the flu is not controlled, officials say hospitals could be overwhelmed by dealing with both.
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Despite this, 32% of parents say their child is “unlikely” to get a flu vaccine, according to the recent National Poll on Children̵
Of those, 42% of parents say they are concerned about the side effects of the flu vaccine. Meanwhile, other parents believe that the flu vaccine is not necessary (40%) or effective (32%).
However, approx. 14% of parents do not seek the vaccine in an attempt to keep their children away from health care facilities in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
And 9% plan to avoid it because their child is afraid of needles or does not want to get the flu vaccine.
Two-thirds of parents still plan to have their child receive the flu vaccine this year, with 49% saying they are “very likely” to do so.
As early as April, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield began encouraging all Americans to consider getting a flu shot when flu season arrives in an effort to prevent hospitals from becoming congested again. Redfield noted that if another wave of coronavirus coincides with the onset of the flu season, it could prove to be even more devastating than the pandemic.
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To reiterate his point, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn also told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo about “Morning with Maria” earlier this summer that America needs the tools to respond to both the flu and COVID-19.
As the season drew to a close, the World Health Organization stressed the importance of controlling influenza, saying it could “complicate the clinical picture.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead COVID-19 and an epidemiologist from infectious diseases, noted that it will be difficult to immediately distinguish between someone having the flu or COVID-19.
“It will be quite difficult if someone is infected with either COVID-19 or the flu and they have a flu-like illness or cold-like symptoms,” Kerkhove told a news conference in August.
By getting a flu shot, parents will be able to reduce “the number of flu-related hospitalizations and doctor visits” as well as reduce “the need for diagnostic tests to distinguish between flu and COVID.”
Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.
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