There is a worry that the flu shot is not effective enough for some
Two-thirds of Toronto parents ‘certain or somewhat likely’ to get young kids vaccinated against COVID-19, survey says
Many Toronto parents have “certain or somewhat likely” to vaccinate their youngest children against the non-medical cold and flu shot for uncomplicated children, a survey says.
Some 64 per cent of parents with children between three and five were “certain or somewhat likely” to get their children the vaccine, which is available as flu shots or nasal spray. The BC Children’s Hospital has had more than 250,000 doses of the inoculation in circulation, provincial health ministry figures show.
Of the potential vaccine recipients surveyed, 78 per cent of parents said getting the flu shot for the younger kids is important to them or they knew a parent or other person who received it as well. Some parents and parents-to-be were less enthused, the survey also said.
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The online survey, conducted in September, showed that three in 10 parents were opposed to giving their children the flu shot. Others, including some families in which the child was under two, were unsure or declined to answer.
The study was published on Tuesday in the British Medical Journal Open.
The results are similar to those from a Public Health Agency of Canada survey on parental choice in vaccination, which showed that some four in 10 Canadians didn’t receive their own children’s annual shots. A large portion of the parents and others in the random, online survey were from Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.
Vaccination experts have said parents often are scared of the flu shot and cited a study from 2016 that found its effectiveness was lower for infants than for other age groups.
But noted flu expert Dr Patricia Whitworth, director of infection control at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, told CTV that she believed the vaccine has at least as much potential for harm as it does for benefit. Whitworth offered suggestions to reduce the chance of young children getting sick, such as washing hands with soap and water before and after touching their faces.
Earlier this month, Ottawa-area parents circulated a petition calling for the City of Ottawa to remove the flu shot from the city’s immunization program, saying their children have gotten sick despite getting the vaccine. The petition was spearheaded by a mother who said she wasn’t satisfied with the perceived safety and efficacy of the shots.
Parents in Ottawa said their children had cases of strep throat, sore throats, coughing and fever after being vaccinated.
“Our immunization program is broken,” the petition’s organizer wrote. “The reason being, the vaccines administered to our children are not medically effective.”
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The local public health agency said the flu shot was still required for Ottawa children under five. There were no reports of flu-related hospitalizations in Ottawa this season, but the agency said such numbers can go up late in the year.
But Dr David Phillips, assistant deputy minister at the ministry of health and sport, told Canada AM that the province is reviewing the program to determine if improvements are needed.