Data in the News: CDC Recommends Injectable Flu Shots

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As another flu season crosses the U.S., the question on many parents’ minds is one as old as time: to vaccinate my child or not?

Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to influenza and the flu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reported a record of 180 pediatric flu deaths during the 2017 flu season. In terms of the entire population, final data for the 2015 demonstrates that there were 15.2 flu and pneumonia deaths per 100,000 persons.

According to STAT News, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending parents vaccinate their children with the flu shot this season rather than the nasal spray vaccine, FluMist. This contrasts slightly with the CDC recommendation, which allows for choice among different vaccination methods like FluMist.

Parents are taking this choice seriously despite conflicting advice between the AAP and CDC, which may confuse them and physicians alike. “There’s no question that ideally we would like for the CDC and the AAP to be completely harmonized,” says Dr. Henry Bernstein, a pediatrician and ex officio member of the AAP’s committee on infectious diseases. “Both groups are harmonized in wanting as many children to receive flu vaccine as possible each and every year.” In alignment with the AAP, physicians are urging parents to vaccinate (via injections) their children despite an increasing trend to forgo vaccinations due to fears of unknown or harmful ingredients that many believe can cause worse diseases than the flu.

Despite these concerns, the percentage of children vaccinated over the past seven years has slightly increased at a slow, but stable pace as shown by the chart above provided by the CDC. Even with the common misconceptions regarding preventative care for the flu, and the fear of deadly side effects, this steady trend suggests concerns among parents and the population in general have not impacted vaccination rates so far.

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