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Why Some Will Get Flu Vaccine -- and Why Some Won't

65% of Moms Say Their Kids Will Get Flu Vaccine
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 7, 2010 - This year, 95% of doctors but only 65% of mothers say they'll get their children vaccinated against the flu.

The figures come from a series of surveys commissioned by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), which strongly supports the CDC's recommendation that everyone over age 6 months get the flu vaccine.

The surveys, conducted in August and September, offer an intriguing look at who does and doesn't get their recommended flu vaccination -- and why.

"There is growing recognition of the threat flu poses and a growing understanding that vaccination is a best buy. It is the best way to protect yourself against the flu," CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MHP, said at a news conference to announce the findings.

The survey findings support Frieden's assertion. While only 18% of mothers said they'd changed their position on flu vaccination since last year, nearly all mothers who shifted opinions (88%) decided to vaccinate their kids.

The top reasons why mothers decided to vaccinate their children against the flu:

  • 96% want to protect their family.
  • 95% want to protect their communities.
  • 95% want to protect other children with underlying health conditions.
  • 93% worry that the flu can hospitalize a healthy child; 92% worry it can kill.
  • 71% said last year's flu pandemic made them more aware of how severe flu can be for children.

Mother's whose kids had once had the flu are more likely to plan to vaccinate their kids than those whose kids have never had the flu (70% vs. 56%).

Doctors and Flu Vaccination

If you haven't heard, 40% of people in health-care-associated jobs get flu shots. But the NFID poll of pediatricians and primary care doctors found that 95% of doctors plan to get their flu vaccine this year. Only 2% said they definitely would not.

And they aren't just getting protection for themselves: 96% of doctors recommend the vaccine to their close friends and extended families.

But even doctors don't know everything about flu vaccination. Only 39% of primary care doctors and just 75% of pediatricians know that the flu vaccine isn't recommended for kids younger than 6 months of age. Only 65% of doctors know that the vaccine now is recommended for all healthy adults ages 18-49.

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