Why parents may opt out of flu shot for their children this year

Posted at 3:03 PM, Nov 19, 2018

A new poll found many parents have no plans to get their children the flu shot this year.

According to a new report published by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 34 percent of U.S. parents say their children are unlikely getting the vaccine this flu season.

Dr. Judith Shlay with Denver Public Health says it can be extremely dangerous to opt out of getting the shot. 

"They can be hospitalized and die from it as we saw last year, and we assume this year will be just as bad as last year," Dr. Shlay says.

Of the 1,977 parents polled, the report found 48 percent of the participants said they usually follow the recommendations of their child’s healthcare provider when making decisions about the flu shot. But 21 percent say they don’t remember if their doctor recommended the vaccine.

Many adults The NOW spoke with say they don’t remember flu shots being recommended by doctors when they were younger. Dr. Shlay says before the year 2000, they weren't.

"Before that time period, we were only asking high-risk adults, elderly and at-risk children to get vaccinated," Dr. Shlay explains.

Parents says they have their own reasons as to why they don't get their kids flu shots. Some of those reasons include potential side effects, the belief the shot doesn’t work and that their child is healthy and doesn’t need to be vaccinated.

"You might still get the flu, but by taking the vaccine, you will reduce the disease burden from taking it. It will be a milder infection," Dr. Shlay says.

Doctors also recommend not waiting to get the shot.  

"Flu activity is high December and January, so the best time to get it is now," Dr. Shlay says.