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Many U.S. Parents Underestimate Swine Flu Risk for Kids: Survey

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Only 40 percent of American parents plan to have their children vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu virus even though the flu has become more active now that children are back in school, a new survey found.

A vaccine against the H1N1 virus has been tested and is expected to be available in October.

Among the parents who don't plan on having their children vaccinated against H1N1 flu, 46 percent said they're not worried about their children getting swine flu and 20 percent said they believe the flu isn't serious, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, which surveyed 1,678 parents from Aug. 13 to 31.

"This information about parents' plans to vaccinate their kids against H1N1 flu suggests that parents are much less concerned about H1N1 flu than seasonal flu for their kids. That perception may not match the actual risks," Dr.Matthew Davis, director of the poll and associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a news release.

The survey found racial/ethnic differences. More than half of Hispanic parents said they've have their children vaccinated against H1N1 flu, compared with 38 percent of white parents and 30 percent of black parents.

Rates of illness and hospitalization related to H1N1 flu are higher for children than for other age groups, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the survey found that only one-third of parents believe H1N1 flu will be worse for children than seasonal flu.

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