The National Poll on Children’s Health survey showed that only one in three parents are willing to get the seasonal influenza vaccination for their children despite the pervading COVID-19 threats. Experts opine that getting the flu vaccine may confer further benefits on children by protecting them from contracting the dreaded coronavirus disease.
The poll was conducted by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Michigan Medicine.
The CDC had warned some months ago that children under the age of five, and particularly those under the age of two, could suffer serious flu-related complications if they fail to get the seasonal flu vaccine. The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, had revealed that flu vaccines should be received before the end of October.
“You should get it no later than the end of October,” Fauci said. “If it’s available now, you should get it now. Don’t wait until any time beyond October.”
One of the major reasons why some parents decline to vaccinate their children is because of the misinformation that flu shots do more harm than good. In fact, some parents opine that flu shots are not as effective as widely touted and therefore not necessary to the overall health of their children.
Associate Director of the National Poll on Children’s Health, Sarah Clark, warned that active flu and coronavirus cases may peak in the coming weeks and that it is best to get the flu vaccination for children since they are more at risk from the diseases. She added that unvaccinated children may transmit flu to others and even endanger other children in their school and neighborhood.
“We may see peeks 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,” said Sarah Clark.
She emphasized that parents who are concerned about the side effects of flu shots or the fear of coronavirus for their children should speak to their pediatricians for guidance.
According to the CDC, severe complications of flu include encephalopathy or swelling of the brain, dehydration, pneumonia, worsening of asthma or heart disease among other medical conditions, and higher risks of ear and sinus infections. Clark tasked public health officials with reaching and educating parents on the benefits of a flu shot during this COVID-19 pandemic so that they can reconsider their decision not to vaccinate their wards.