Last year’s flu outbreak was one for the record books. It’s estimated by the CDC that upwards of 80,000 Americans fell ill from the virus and died from complications throughout the winter. This is the greatest death toll ever recorded since the 70s.
But with kids and young adults, no predictions are needed. Unlike adult deaths, the death toll for the flu in children is directly issued to the CDC. We know for a fact that 183 children died from the virus during 2017 and 2018. That’s the highest in recorded history. Roughly 80% of the children had not gotten a flu shot.
In the face of such a relentless flu outbreak, that many kids going unvaccinated is tragic. Why didn’t these kids’ parents act differently? Recent studies show some of the reasons why and also some surprising data of another kind.
The majority of parents believed their child would receive the flu due to the flu shot according to a nationwide study the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children conducted.
That’s right, 53% of the 704 parents (of teenagers and kids less than 18 years old) who answered the survey stated that they thought flu shots would actually contaminate people with the thing they’re trying to prevent. It’s a misconception that health authorities are hoping to confront during this flu season.
“The used portions of the virus are fully lifeless, so you can’t contract the illness from the vaccination,” pediatrician Jean Moorjani, who aided in the research, explained. As we’re well aware, vaccines aren’t always perfect. This is a subject the respondents were concerned with as well.
Roughly one-third of surveyed parents mentioned that they held the belief that flu shots won’t have an effect against the flu. As Moorjani described, getting a flu shot give the best chances of protecting yourself from the sickness, but it’s not 100% — particularly if you didn’t get the vaccination on time.
“After getting the vaccine, your body needs about two weeks in order to develop the antibodies to protect against the flu virus,” Moorjani stated. “If you’re around the virus throughout that period, you can still fall ill. That is the reason it’s best to go as early as possible.”
The troubling fact is how deep-seeded and persistent the convictions people hold about flu vaccinations are, creating even more health risks.