Infectious Diseases
Journal Scan

Only 1 in 4 parents believe the flu vaccine is effective

Posted on June 15, 2020
Only 1 in 4 parents believe the flu vaccine is effective

Vaccine hesitancy is a leading threat to global health, according to the World Health Organization. A new study in the journal Pediatrics sought to assess the prevalence of hesitancy regarding vaccinations in the United States. Keep reading to find out what researchers found to be the main cause of vaccine hesitancy among parents.

Vaccine hesitancy is a leading threat to global health, according to the World Health Organization. A new study in the journal Pediatrics sought to assess the prevalence of hesitancy regarding vaccinations in the United States.

Researchers surveyed 2176 parents and assessed hesitancy using a modified 5-point Vaccine Hesitancy Scale and labeled parents as hesitant if they scored >3. Approximately 6% of parents were hesitant when it came to routine childhood vaccines and 25.8% when it came to flu vaccines. Serious side effects for routine childhood and flu vaccines were a concern amongst nearly 40% of parents.

Most parents (70%) strongly agreed that routine childhood vaccines are effective, however, only 26% agreed on the efficacy of the flu vaccine.

Lower education levels and household income <400% of the federal poverty level were associated with hesitancy about routine childhood and influenza vaccines.

“More work needs to be done to develop methods that are practical and effective for convincing vaccine-hesitant parents to vaccinate. With respect to influenza vaccination, with our data, we underscore the importance of better communicating to providers and parents the effectiveness of influenza vaccines in reducing severity and morbidity from influenza, even in years when the vaccine has relatively low effectiveness,” the authors concluded.

Reference 

Kempe A, Saville AW, Albertin C, et al. Parental hesitancy about routine childhood and influenza vaccinations: A national survey. Pediatrics. 2020; e20193852; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3852.