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About One in Five Children Have Vaccine-Hesitant Parent

Influenza vaccine coverage 26 percent lower for children of parents reported to be hesitant about childhood shots

MONDAY, Nov. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Parental vaccine hesitancy (VH) is reported for about 20 percent of children in the United States, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in Pediatrics.

Tammy A. Santibanez, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues quantified the prevalence of parental VH in the United States using data from the six-question VH module included in the 2018 and 2019 National Immunization Survey-Flu telephone survey of households with children aged 6 months to 17 years.

The researchers found that the percentage of children with a parent reporting being hesitant about childhood shots was 25.8 and 19.5 percent in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In 2018 and 2019, the prevalence of concern about the number of vaccines a child gets at one time impacting the decision to get their child vaccinated was 22.8 and 19.1 percent, respectively, while the prevalence of concern about serious, long-term side effects impacting the decision to vaccinate their child was 27.3 and 21.7 percent, respectively. There were mostly small differences in VH by sociodemographic variables. Influenza vaccination coverage was 26 percent lower for children of parents reporting being hesitant about childhood shots compared with parents not reporting hesitancy.

“The associations shown in this study between the VH variables and child influenza vaccination coverage may suggest a role for reduction in VH in increasing vaccination coverage with influenza,” the authors write.

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