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Eleven children have died from flu or flu-related illness this year, and roughly 20,000 are hospitalized every year in the U.S. thanks to influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And yet the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, 2016 reveals that even 14% of parents who had their children immunized against flu this year believe it is “less important” than other childhood vaccines; perhaps less surprisingly, 59% of parents whose children did not receive a flu shot this year also believe the flu vaccine is less important than others. Flu vaccination rates for children are well below national targets even though national, regional, and local health departments have spent considerable resources trying to educate patients on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The new data underscore the ongoing importance of educating parents, and all patients, of the importance of immunizing against the flu in every setting, including urgent care, for the duration of the flu season (October through May).

Despite Deaths, Many Parents Say Flu Vaccine is Less Important Than Others