Researchers from the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital recently conducted a study to assess parents' attitudes about the vaccination.
"We know that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the flu," study coauthor Jean Moorjani said in a statement. "In this day and age we have so many ways to get information, so if anybody has questions or concerns, we recommend they talk to a doctor they trust to get the right information about what's best to protect themselves and their families."
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For the assessment, they surveyed 700 adults in America. After analyzing the results, they found more than half of parents with children under age 18 believe their child can get the flu from the flu shot and a third of them think the shot does not protect against the flu.
“The parts of the virus that are used in the vaccine are completely dead, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” Moorjani clarified. “It takes time for your body to get strong and ready for flu season, which is why we recommend everybody get the shot as soon as they can. If you are infected with the flu shortly after getting your flu shot, your body may not be able to fight it off.”
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The survey results also revealed parents question the safety of the flu shots. About 28 percent believe that it can cause autism.
“After extensive studies, we know that the flu vaccine is safe,” Moorjani said. “You cannot get autism from the flu vaccine. It is not a conspiracy for doctors to recommend the flu vaccine. Doctors recommend it because we know -- based on science, research and facts -- that it is the best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu.”
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During the 2017-2018 season, 180 children died after contracting the illness, which was the most severe on record.
Experts recommend everyone over 6 months should get the shot. Children under the age of 8 who are receiving the shot for the first time should receive two doses spaced a month apart to build their immunity.
“As a parent,” Moorjani said, “the flu shot is just another level of protection I can give my kids, and with so many places offering flu shots, it's really simple.”