One in three parents does not intend to vaccinate their child for the flu this season, according to a new study, despite the potential threat of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
Health officials are increasingly emphasizing the importance of vaccinations this year, in part to reduce stress on the health system during the coronavirus pandemic. If the flu is not controlled, officials say hospitals could be overwhelmed if they deal with both.
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However, 32% of parents say their child is “unlikely” to get the flu vaccine, according to a recent national survey of children̵
Of these, 42% of parents say they are worried about the side effects of the flu vaccine. Meanwhile, other parents believe that the flu vaccine is not necessary (40%) or effective (32%).
However, about 14% of parents will not seek the vaccine to keep their children away from healthcare facilities amid 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.
Still, two-thirds of parents plan to have their child get the flu vaccine this year, with 49 percent saying they are “very likely” to do so.
As early as April, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began encouraging all Americans to consider getting a flu vaccine when the flu season comes to prevent overcrowding in hospitals again. Redfield noted that if a second wave of coronavirus coincided with the start of the flu season, it could be even more devastating than the pandemic.
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To reiterate his opinion, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn also stressed to Maria Bartiromo of FOX Business in “Morning with Maria” earlier this summer that America must have the tools to respond to both the flu and COVID-19.
As the season approaches, the World Health Organization has stressed the importance of influenza control, saying it could “complicate the clinical picture”.
Dr. Maria Van Kerchow, WHO technical manager for COVID-19 and an epidemiologist on infectious diseases, noted that it would be difficult to immediately distinguish whether someone has the flu or COVID-19.
“It will be quite difficult if someone is infected with either COVID-19 or the flu and has a flu-like illness or cold-like symptoms,” Kerhove told a news conference in August.
When receiving a flu vaccine, parents will be able to reduce the “number of flu hospitalizations and doctor’s visits” as well as reduce the “need for diagnostic tests to distinguish influenza from COVID”.
Vandana Rambaran of Fox News contributed to this report.
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