12 Percent of Caregivers Have Pediatric Flu Vaccine Hesitancy

Most hold inaccurate beliefs about flu, flu shots, including believing child will be protected with one shot

MONDAY, April 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Some caregivers of children have influenza vaccine hesitancy and hold inaccurate beliefs about influenza vaccination and disease, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from April 24 to May 1 in Baltimore.

Ekaterina Nekrasova, M.P.H., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed demographic information of caregivers and participating children as part of the Flu2Text national study conducted during the 2017 to 2018 season. A validated measure of vaccine hesitancy was completed by caregivers, and their knowledge about influenza infection and vaccination was examined using a series of questions. Analyses included responses from 256 participants across 24 states.

The researchers found that 11.7 percent of caregivers had moderate or high vaccine hesitancy. The following inaccurate beliefs were held by a considerable proportion of caregivers: flu is just a bad cold, child will be protected with only one flu shot, flu shot causes flu, and children cannot die from the flu (40.2, 93.8, 57.0, and 68.0 percent, respectively). Only lower English ability was a significant predictor of vaccine hesitancy in a multivariable model. Not one variable consistently predicted inaccurate beliefs across all outcomes.

"Our findings emphasize the importance of promoting the second dose influenza vaccination and educating caregivers about influenza disease and vaccination before and after they agree to the first dose," Nekrasova said in a statement.

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