According to a new Gallup survey, 84 percent in the United States say vaccinating children is important, down from 94 percent in 2001. 

Dr. Sharon Nachman, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital is available to discuss the topic of vaccines and is available by phone, Sykpe or live via the VideoLink Studio located on the Stony Brook University campus. 

Her comments on the results and preventative tips:

  • There are significant differences in the types and targets of vaccines. The fact is, not all vaccines are created equal. This type of survey is general and doesn't get into the specifics of the infections that vaccines prevent. 
  • We want people to understand that while the flu vaccine is not perfect, it does prevent many cases of the flu and most of the deaths from flu.
  • While the vaccine may not prevent someone from getting the flu 100 percent of the time, it can lessen the severity of the illness, shorten its duration, and prevent hospitalizations and death.
  • Get your vaccines. Vaccines prevent disease outbreak and deadly illnesses. 
  • Flu season started early this year, but it's going strong and not expected to peak for another few weeks, so there is still time to get your vaccines. 
  • Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common. Few to no parents have seen children with meningitis (prevented and almost eradicated by Hemophilus B vaccine and Prevnar vaccines) or tetanus (prevented by the TDAP or DTAP vaccines) or even polio (prevented by the vaccine of the same name).
  • When we don't vaccinate children, we allow them to be exposed to illnesses and suffer significant childhood morbidity and mortality.
  • Every year we anticipate flu deaths in children, often occurring in those not vaccinated and with no underlying medical conditions. This year is no different.
  • We're up to 53 deaths in children, and the flu season is still going strong. That means it is possible that many more children may die from flu this year. As in past years, more than 80 percent of those children who died, were not vaccinated.
  • Community protection works, as we have seen with the recent measles outbreaks, and the only way to combat these outbreaks is by protecting all the children in our community.

Dr. Nachman is recognized as an international leader in the area of pediatric infectious diseases and the treatment of children with HIV, TB, and preventable infectious diseases such as flu and measles. She has been the principal investigator of more than 30 clinical trials of promising medicines for patients treated at Stony Brook University Hospital and at international settings. These include investigations in areas such as new vaccines, Lyme disease, TB and HIV.

Find more experts at Stony Brook University here.