Some parents still opting out of flu shots for kids

Published: Feb. 14, 2018 at 5:13 PM CST
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By the pipes on Kelsey Bauer’s son, you'd never know he was born early. Still, his mom worries about giving his little body the flu shot, right now.

"I feel like things have come out with different vaccinations, later on, that I don't love,” Bauer told 6 News.

Bauer isn't exactly an "anti-vaxxer" but she doesn't think all shots are necessary including the flu vaccine. Her baby will get it eventually, she says, but now is not the time.

"Parents are the parents. They're their child's advocate. I think it's the parent's job, their right, their responsibility to look at the information that's out there and process it and decide what's right for their own kids,” said Doctor Lisa Whitcomb with Heartland Family First Medical Clinic.

Dr. Whitcomb says many parents have a problem with the preservative found in the vaccine called Thimerosal. At her clinic she offers a vaccine that has less preservative in it. Whitcomb adds there have been no solid studies saying that it's harmful. She said, "But a lot of my parents have that question, you know, if we can do less, then let's do less."

Other doctors aren't so lenient. Dr. Marvin Bittner, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor at Creighton School of Medicine, says most people just need to get the shot.

"There's been a tenancy to remove a lot of preservatives from vaccines interestingly whether there were preservatives or not, there really aren't many side effects from vaccines," Bittner told 6 News. "Just need to stick out their arms and get their flu shot, every year."

He confirms this year's vaccine is only 10 to 30 percent effective.

"You know, seatbelts aren't going to make you immortal when you're driving in your car, but it's a bad idea to get in and not buckle up,” Bittner said.

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