NFID Survey Reveals Strong Interest in Vaccination for Children This Season

While many Americans have traditionally perceived influenza as not much more than the common cold, influenza causes 20,000 hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths in children each year. In an ongoing effort to better understand perceptions and behaviors regarding influenza and influenza vaccination, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and its Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) conducted its annual survey of parents.

Results indicate the vast majority of parents consider influenza vaccination for their children each year, though not all follow through with annual vaccination particularly for older children. And, while it appears that flu awareness may be improving in regard to some areas, misinformation prevails, representing an ongoing educational challenge.

Key Findings
Parental intent to get child(ren) vaccinated against influenza is high:
- Seven in 10 parents (70 percent) say they will definitely or probably get their child(ren) vaccinated

- Less than one-fifth of parents (19 percent) will likely not get their child(ren) vaccinated for influenza this season

- More than 1 in 10 parents (12 percent) do not know their influenza vaccination plans

- While more than 40 percent of parents report that annual influenza vaccination is a priority for their child(ren); 1 in 5 sees this as a decision they have to make each year

- 43 percent of parents make sure their child(ren) receives an influenza vaccine each year no matter what

- 20 percent weigh the options each year and make a vaccination decision

- 14 percent always intend to get their child(ren) vaccinated, but dont always get to it

- 14 percent never get their child(ren) vaccinated against influenza

- Parents of younger children are more likely to ensure make annual vaccination a priority

- Many parents remain unaware that annual vaccination is recommended for all Americans 6 months and older

- Less than half of parents (47 percent) believe that annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all Americans age 6 months and older

- Although the strains in this years and last years vaccines are the same, this does not appear to influence parents vaccination intent

- More than half of parents (56 percent) reported no difference in vaccination intent knowing strains are the same

- Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) would be more interested in vaccination knowing strains are the same

- Only 12 percent would be less interested in vaccination knowing strains are the same

- Some influenza education messages appear to be resonating with parents

- Nearly three-fourths of parents believe in the efficacy of the influenza vaccine

- 72 percent know that the flu vaccine can reduce a childs risk of getting sick from influenza and can help prevent the virus spreading to family and friends and throughout the community

- More than two-thirds of parents understand the potentially severe consequences of influenza

- Only 15 percent of parents still believe that hand washing alone works just as well, or better, than vaccination against influenza. Yet, parental misinformation and misconceptions concerning influenza continue; representing hurdles to vaccination

- One-fourth of parents (25 percent) erroneously believe that stomach flu is a type of influenza

- Nearly half of parents (49 percent) do not know that the immune protection of the influenza vaccination declines over time, making yearly vaccination necessary

- Only one-third of parents (33 percent) believe that influenza immunization is the best and safest way for pregnant women to protect themselves, their developing babies, and newborns from the flu

This survey was conducted on behalf of NFID by ORC International. Results are based on online polling conducted Aug. 11-14, 2011 with a sample of 1,000 parents ages 18 and older who currently have a child between the ages of 2 and 17. Sampling error cannot be calculated for this self-selecting (versus random) survey population. Previous NFID surveys of parents were conducted by ORC International and based on telephone interviews of mothers.