US study finds almost all children’s caregivers misunderstand vaccines


Paediatric conference hears of significant vax hesitancy among people with duty of care to kids. Nick Carne reports.


In the 1950s, when this picture was taken, 'vaccine hesitancy' was pretty much unknown.

Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

There’s yet more evidence of the worrying degree of misinformation around child vaccination.

More than 90% of caregivers in a US study believed their child would be protected with just one flu shot despite registering for a program that required two – and agreeing to the first.

Nearly one in eight of them had what the researchers described as moderate-to-high vaccine hesitancy.

And it gets worse. More than 40% believed flu is just a bad cold, 57% that a flu shot actually causes the flu, and 68% that children cannot die from the flu.

The study was a collaboration between the American Academy of Paediatrics, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Columbia University Irving Medical Centre.

The findings were outlined at the Paediatric Academic Societies Meeting, which began on April 24 in Baltimore.

“Our findings emphasise 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," says CHOP’s Ekaterina Nekrasova.

The researchers conducted a telephone survey with the caregivers for 256 children across the US during the 2017-2018 flu season.

Each child had received the first dose of influenza vaccine, needed a second dose that season, and was enrolled in a study of text message vaccine reminders.

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  1. https://2019.pas-meeting.org/
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