ATS: Many Parents of Children With Asthma Avoid Flu Vaccine

Parents reluctant to vaccinate kids due to safety concerns and not seeing flu as asthma trigger

TUESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of a child with asthma who do not vaccinate the child against influenza are more likely to be concerned with vaccine safety and to not see influenza as a trigger of their child's asthma, according to research presented at the American Thoracic Society's 2011 International Conference, held from May 13 to 18 in Denver.

Toby C. Lewis, M.D., M.P.H., of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and colleagues conducted a national survey of 1,621 parents from Aug. 13 to Sept. 7, 2010, with 237 parents indicating at least one child had asthma and included in the final compilation of data.

The investigators found that 70 percent of parents reported that they vaccinated their child against seasonal or H1N1 influenza during the 2009/2010 season and 65 percent stated that they planned to have their child vaccinated against influenza during the 2010/2011 season. The investigators also found that parents who did not vaccinate their children against influenza were less likely than those that did vaccinate their children to report that getting a viral infection was an important trigger of their child's asthma (53 versus 72 percent). In addition, parents who did not vaccinate their children against influenza were more likely to be concerned about vaccine side effects (60 versus 26 percent) and getting sick from the vaccine itself (41 versus 13 percent).

"Not surprisingly, parents who felt that their children were likely to experience an asthma attack when they got a respiratory infection were more likely to get their child vaccinated," Lewis said in a statement. "Worries about potential side effects of the vaccine emerged as an important factor for families who did not have their child vaccinated. The group as a whole indicated that their physician was an important source of health information for their family -- suggesting that physicians may have an opportunity to advise families about this important preventative measure."

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