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1 in 7 Parents Avoided Vaccine Talk With Child’s Doctor During the Pandemic

Roughly one in seven parents did not discuss vaccines with their child’s primary care provider in the last 2 years, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Results of the nearly 1,500 respondents showed that 82% of parents discussed school-required vaccines with their child’s primary care provider during the pandemic, 68% discussed the influenza vaccine, and 57% discussed the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, 15% of parents did not have any conversation about vaccines for their children with the primary care provider, and 3% avoided going to the doctor altogether so they didn’t have to have the conversation.

“Things are turned upside down,” said the poll’s co-director Sarah Clark, MPH, of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at University of Michigan Health in Ann Arbor, in a press statement. “Parents shouldn’t feel afraid of raising these conversations; they should go in with the expectation they are going to have a good conversation and go away with the information they need.”

“When parents delay or skip visits altogether, they are not prioritizing their child’s well-being,” Clark added. “Children won’t receive screening for medical or mental health problems, and parents will not receive information or guidance about how to keep their child healthy and safe.”

Clark says some blame might be placed on misinformation and division over vaccines circulating during the pandemic. Furthermore, visits to the doctor were frequently disrupted because of COVID precautions.

“This may have affected how often parents were talking with their child’s regular provider,” Clark said. “Without that trusted source of vaccine information and guidance, families may turn to other sources that may be less accurate.”

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