One in three parents doesn't intend to have their child vaccinated for the flu this season, according to a new poll, despite the potential threat of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
Health officials have increasingly emphasized the importance of vaccinations this year, in part to limit stress on the health care system during the coronavirus pandemic. If the flu is not controlled, officials say hospitals may become overwhelmed by dealing with both.
Despite this, 32% of parents say their child is "unlikely" to get a flu vaccine, according to the recent National Poll on Children's Health.
Of them, 42% of the parents say they are worried about the side effects of the flu vaccine. Meanwhile, other parents believe that the flu vaccine is not necessary (40%) or effective (32%).
However, roughly 14% percent of parents will not seek the vaccine in an effort to keep their children away from health care sites amid the ongoing pandemic.
And, 9% plan to avoid it because their child is afraid of needles or does not want to get the flu vaccine.
Still, two-thirds of parents plan to have their child receive the flu vaccine this year, with 49% saying they're "very likely" to do so.
As early as April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield began encouraging all Americans to consider getting a flu shot when flu season arrives in an effort to prevent hospitals from becoming overburdened again. Redfield noted that if a second wave of the coronavirus coincides with the start of flu season it could prove to be even more devastating than the pandemic.
To reiterate his point, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn also stressed to FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria” earlier this summer that America needs to have the tools in place to respond to both the flu and COVID-19.
As the season inched closer the World Health Organization underscored the importance of controlling the flu, saying it could "complicate the clinical picture."
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's COVID-19 technical lead and an infectious disease epidemiologist, noted that it will be hard to immediately distinguish whether somebody has the flu or COVID-19.
"It will be quite difficult if somebody is infected with either COVID-19 or the flu and they have a flu-like illness or cold-like symptoms," Kerkhove said during an August press conference.
In getting a flu shot, parents will be able to reduce the "number of influenza-related hospitalizations and doctor visits," as well as decrease "the need for diagnostic tests to distinguish influenza from COVID."