A new poll by the Associated Press reveals that over one-third of the nation’s parents don’t want their kids immunized against the swine flu, despite reassurances from the government that the vaccine is safe.
Some parents say they are concerned about side effects from the new vaccine — even though nothing serious has turned up in tests so far — while others say swine flu doesn’t amount to any greater health threat than seasonal flu. Jackie Shea of Newtown, Conn., the mother of a 5-year-old boy named Emmett, says the vaccine is too new and too untested. “I will not be first in line in October to get him vaccinated,” she said in an interview last month. “We’re talking about putting an unknown into him. I can’t do that.” The AP poll found that 38 percent of parents said they were unlikely to give permission for their kids to be vaccinated at school. The belief that the new vaccine could be risky is one federal health officials have been fighting from the start, and they plan an unprecedented system of monitoring for side effects. They note that swine flu vaccine is made the same way as seasonal flu vaccines that have been used for years. And no scary side effects have turned up in tests on volunteers, including children. On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appealed for widespread inoculation against swine flu, vouching unconditionally for the vaccine: “We know it’s safe and secure.”
Some parents cite the unproven theory that other vaccines have caused autism as reason not to trust the swine flu shots.