WASHINGTON — A survey released by the National Consumers League found that more than 1-in-5 (22%) U.S. parents surveyed admitted they’ve never received a flu shot, and only half (53%) of parents with children ages 17 years and younger have received a flu vaccination within the last year.
“According to our survey, only 44% of these parents said their child has received the vaccine,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “And 20% of Americans who do not get the vaccine say they avoid it because they mistakenly fear the vaccine increases one’s chance of contracting the virus. Consumers are clearly confused about the value of the flu shot for both individuals and for their community, and they need better education."
The most common reason for not receiving the flu vaccine among adults who reported they have never received a flu shot was their good health (45%), side effects (29%) and perceived ineffectiveness of the vaccine (24%).
Additionally, 1-in-5e (21%) said the reason they have not received the flu vaccine is because they do not believe the flu is a serious illness. One-in-5 (20%) also said the fear of contracting the flu from the vaccination is a reason they have not received the flu vaccine.
NCL’s survey also polled adult Americans about their perspectives on vaccines in general. The most common reasons adults cite for not vaccinating include side effects (41%) and ineffectiveness of the vaccines (27%).
The majority of adults (87%) support mandatory vaccinations for school-aged children, however.
The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 1,756 U.S. adult Americans, of whom 993 are parents of children under age 18 years, from August through September 2013. The survey was commissioned by NCL with an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer.