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Parents uncertain with H1N1 vaccine

October 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the swine flu continues to hit throughout southern California, those under the age of 24 are the most affected. Yet, even though a recent survey shows 1 in 5 kids had flu-like symptoms last month, many parents aren't sure if they'll get the H1N1 vaccine for their children.L.A. County's first free H1N1 vaccine clinic will be held at Balboa Park community center starting Friday morning. Many people have been waiting anxiously for this shot but a new ABC News Poll shows 4 out 10 parents say they don't plan on vaccinating their kids.

"I'm not a hundred percent sure," said parent Joseph Saenz. "I could still do a little bit more research on it."

When Joseph Saenz's teenager was a baby, he got a bad reaction to a vaccine. That's why he's on the fence about the H1N1 flu shot.

"Just from what I read about on the Internet, it just makes us both feel a little uncomfortable about it," said Saenz.

"My answer is no," said Nicki Tasu.

Tasu has a 3-year-old girl and she's concerned the swine flu vaccine hasn't been tested enough.

"It's a new shot and there's certain new shots I haven't given her because of the stuff in them, and I'm just not certain," said Tasu.

A new ABC News Washington post poll confirms many parents feel the same: Do you feel confident that the swine flu vaccine is safe? The results were:

  • No: 30%
  • Yes: 67%
And nearly 40 percent of parents said they were not planning on having their children vaccinated.

"It is safe," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Dir., Los Angeles County Public Health Department. "It is a safe vaccine. It is, we believe, an effective vaccine based on the studies done by the FDA."

Public Health experts say the H1N1 vaccine has been tested more thoroughly than any other flu vaccine and that parental fears are unfounded.

"We recommend getting the vaccine and taking the vaccine when it becomes available and I expect to be at the frontline," said Dr. Fielding.

While most of the parents we spoke to were hesitant, Mo Nemati says if his doctor insisted that his kids get the swine flu shot, he might reconsider.

"If we have to, we have to," said Nemati. "That's something that's recommended by the government and everybody needs to do that, that's something that we have to."

It's important to know that half the people who have been hospitalized with the H1N1 virus have been children. Most of the deaths have been children and young adults. The free vaccine clinic will open here at balboa park community center starting Friday at 9 a.m. Priority groups will be the first to be vaccinated.


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