NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new survey conducted online by The Harris Poll, commissioned by CareDox and Families Fighting Flu, most Americans (85 percent) understand that otherwise healthy children can die from the flu, yet nearly half of parents of kids under 18 (50 percent) have still not had their children vaccinated and 17 percent of parents don't plan to get their children vaccinated this flu season.
According to the CDC, last year was the worst flu season on record, with an estimated 79,000 deaths, including 185 children. This year's flu season is already underway, and there have already been two reported pediatric flu deaths.
"Both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that everyone six months of age and older get an annual flu vaccination as soon as vaccines are available in their community, preferably by the end of October," said Flor Muñoz, M.D, Associate Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Baylor College of Medicine and medical advisor to Families Fighting Flu. "Year after year, thousands of otherwise healthy children are hospitalized, and hundreds die from flu-related complications. Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu-related death in otherwise healthy children by 65 percent."
In late October, on behalf of CareDox and Families Fighting Flu, The Harris Poll surveyed more than 2,000 adults from across the U.S., including 660 parents of children under 18. The survey sought to better understand attitudes towards flu vaccines and glean insight into why some parents still don't vaccinate, despite the documented dangers of not doing so. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination rate among children ages 6 months through 17 years old have remained stagnant around 59 percent for the past several years, declining by more than a percentage point just last flu season. Further, flu vaccination rates for young, school-age children have been declining. Last year, approximately 80 percent of the 185 children that died had not been vaccinated.
CareDox and Families Fighting Flu wanted to better understand why parents are not vaccinating their children. Survey results reveal that there is a large gap between what parents believe about the flu, and the actions they take (or don't take) to protect their children from this potentially deadly disease. The survey indicates:
- 85 percent of Americans believe that the flu is dangerous
- 50 percent of parents have yet to vaccinate their children this flu season, including 17 percent who say they don't plan to vaccinate, despite the risks. Top reasons for not vaccinating include:
- 55 percent believe the flu vaccine doesn't work
- 52 percent believe the flu vaccine isn't safe
- 32 percent believe they can get the flu from the vaccine
"Parents may believe that children, even healthy children, dying from flu is a rare occurrence," said Serese Marotta, chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu. "But the members of our organization, including myself, can tell you that flu hospitalizations and deaths occur much more frequently than we'd like to think. And we want parents to know that annual flu vaccination is the best defense we have against influenza."
The survey results also showed that 54 percent of parents wish it was easier to get their children vaccinated for the flu, and 66 percent of parents said it's much more likely that they'd get their child vaccinated if they could get it at school.
Campaign to Address Flu Myths
Families Fighting Flu and CareDox are launching a collaborative effort to combat the myths surrounding flu and the flu vaccination, with the goal of increasing flu vaccination rates for school-age children this season. Life is busy and even parents with intentions to vaccinate their children don't always follow through. In fact, 30 percent of parents admitted that in previous years, they'd planned to vaccinate their children but ultimately didn't, leaving their children vulnerable to possible flu-related complications such as hospitalization and death.
"The results of the poll echo what our organizations hear from parents regularly - that they wish it was easier to get their children vaccinated outside of the pediatrician's office or clinic appointments," said Tony Boselli, President of CareDox. "At CareDox, we're focused on improving pediatric care across the country, and K-12 schools are a critical part of the care community for children."
Through their unique partnership, Families Fighting Flu (www.familiesfightingflu.org) provides flu facts as well as stories of families that have been adversely impacted by this disease to raise awareness about the dangers of flu while CareDox makes it easy for parents to locate and sign up for no-cost school-located vaccine clinics in their area through their website (www.schoolflushot.com).
Since 2013, CareDox has provided wellness services and health records management technology to more than 7100 school districts across the country, and more than 600,000 flu shots to children in conjunction with state and county health departments and school districts. By the end of the upcoming flu season, CareDox expects that total to exceed 1 million vaccinations. For those students who do not have insurance (private or public), CareDox absorbs those costs. Offering flu shots at no cost to the parent or school is a critical part of improving pediatric health and protecting children and the community from potentially lethal outbreaks of flu.
For more information, school officials may contact CareDox via its 24-hour call center at 1-800-566-0596.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareDox from October 26-29, 2018 among 2,013 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 660 are parents of kids under 18. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact CareDox at [email protected].
About Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu is a national, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization dedicated to protecting children and their families against influenza. Our organization includes families whose loved ones have suffered serious medical complications or died from influenza, as well as other advocates and healthcare practitioners committed to flu prevention. In honor of our loved ones, we work to increase awareness about the seriousness of the disease and to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by the flu each year by increasing vaccination rates. For more information, please visit www.familiesfightingflu.org or follow us on social media (Facebook: www.facebook.com/familiesfightingflu; Twitter: twitter.com/famfightflu. Instagram: @familiesfightingflu; LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/families-fighting-flu).
CareDox is the leader in pediatric healthcare technology and services aimed at transforming the most consistent health delivery system in the U.S.; K-12 public schools. The company's health records management technology houses more than 4.8 million student health records, and its unique, no-cost wellness services, including in-school flu vaccinations, are in operations in more than 7100 schools. The company was founded in 2014 and is based in New York City. To learn more about CareDox and how they work with schools and payers, please visit www.caredox.com.
Christine Vara, Communications Director
Families Fighting Flu