Parents agree: Making sure kids wash hands and eat right is very important for keeping them healthy during swine flu season. Getting vaccinated? Not so much.
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According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 41 percent of parents said they would definitely have their child vaccinated for the seasonal flu, and 22 percent said they definitely would not. For swine flu, only 35 percent said they would definitely try to get their child vaccinated, 14 percent definitely would not, and half said "it will depend."
But 57 percent of parents were still concerned about their child getting sick with swine flu.
The swine flu vaccines are new — the Food and Drug Administration gave its OK in mid-September — but they are made the same way as regular seasonal flu vaccine, which has minor side effects. Regulators say there have been no safety issues in studies of several thousand people.
The Centers for Disease Control says the vaccine's effectiveness varies, depending on the age and health of the person receiving it, and the similarity between the virus in the vaccine and the viruses striking people ill.
Of those parents who were unsure about the swine flu vaccine for their children or didn't plan to get it for them, 65 percent said they were concerned about the newness of the vaccine.
Keeping kids healthy
Those surveyed noted some other techniques, outside of vaccination, that were "very important" for keeping their kids healthy during flu season:
- 92 percent cited frequent hand-washing
- 89 percent mentioned healthful eating
- 83 percent cited adequate sleep and rest
- 68 percent noted avoidance of sick kids
Meanwhile, 41 percent said it was "very important" to have children vaccinated for flu.
Small rollouts of swine flu vaccinations begin this week.
Respondents were polled throughout Sept. 2-7, with 1,502 interviews completed via random digit dialing of cell phone and landlines. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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