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Many Parents Still Lack Confidence In Vaccines

Some parents remain unpersuaded that all childhood vaccines are safe or even necessary, a new survey published in Health Affairs shows.

Photo by James Gathany via the CDCWhile most parents vaccinate their children, they lack confidence in them, researchers pointed out. Parental education should include thorough explanations why infants should be fully immunized before age two.

Vaccination levels for most recommended vaccines were above 90% of national immunization goals in 2009, reported the CDC’s National Immunization Survey. But, researchers wrote, high immunization rates aren’t the same as high confidence in the vaccines.

Using data from the 2010 HealthStyles survey of 6,253 households (response rate 67%), researchers identified 376 respondents with children ages six or younger and examined parental vaccine behaviors, attitudes, concerns, and what sources of information they rely on to learn about vaccines.

Among respondents, 83% had fully vaccinated their children and 11% planned to fully vaccinate them. Another 5% intended to vaccinate children with some but not all vaccines and 2% planned not to vaccinate at all. (Percentages total more than 100% due to rounding.)

“Parents intending their children to receive some, but not all, of the recommended vaccines demonstrated a more nuanced pattern of concerns related to childhood vaccinations,” the authors wrote. “They were more likely than expected to believe that children receive too many vaccines during the first two years of life and that vaccines may cause learning disabilities, such as autism.”

Although 23% of parents reported that they had no concern about vaccines, most parents reported concerns regarding pain from shots (38%), too many shots at once (36%), too many vaccines before age 2 (34%), learning disabilities and autism (30%) and unsafe ingredients (26%). Parents also questioned whether vaccines were tested enough (17%), if they might cause chronic disease (16%), or would be administered to prevent diseases their children were unlikely to get (11%).

Parents are getting information about vaccine safety and the value of vaccines primarily from pediatricians. Although health providers are one of the most important sources that parents turn to (85%), one in three parents surveyed said they are not fully satisfied with the information they get on the safety and necessity of vaccines.

Next in line as information sources are family (46%) and friends (22%), and the Internet (24%), more than twice the number (10%) reported in 2009 from a different survey.

Authors came to four main conclusions:
1. Even if widespread concerns don’t deter vaccination, health care providers should consider them;
2. Americans are becoming informed health consumers, and vaccine information needs to be tailored to individual needs;
3. Parents look to doctors for guidance, so doctors need to devote time to communicating information to parents; and
4. Training in communication, not necessarily more time, resulted in more in-depth patient interactions about vaccination.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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2 Responses to “Many Parents Still Lack Confidence In Vaccines”

  1. nicksmom says:

    Thanks for the laugh. Pediatrician’s routinely dismiss severe reactions as coincidence. They do not inform parents of the risks of vaccination. They do not tell parents that they can file for compensation when a vaccine injury occurs. Basically, pediatricians are grossly incompetent, and this article points out that many parents are concerned. Uh, yeah. Got it.

  2. Richids says:

    With the abundance of peer-reviewed scientific studies available on the government’s own website (PUBMED) it should come as no surprise that more parents lack confidence in vaccines, because there is no such thing as a safe vaccine. There are no less than 40 peer-reviewed studies alone on the thimerosal-autism link, still used in the influenza vaccine children are supposed to get annually from 6 months onwards, no less than 300 peer-reviewed studies showing other ingredients in vaccines to be unsafe in the combinations they are used such as monkey tissue, fetal tissue, genetically engineered ingredients, aluminium, formaldehyde, glutamates, etc.

    In addition Reagan’s government in its infinite wisdom made sure the pharmaceutical industry has zero liability for their vaccine products. Imagine if they did the same for prescription drugs, do you think consumer confidence would be shaken? Every recalled drug on the market was approved at one time by the corrupt FDA.

    See PubMed 21058170 – Hepatitis B Vaccination of Male Neonates and Autism

    Annals of Epidemiology , Vol. 19, No. 9 ABSTRACTS (ACE), September 2009: 651-680, p. 659

    CM Gallagher, MS Goodman, Graduate Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY

    PURPOSE: Universal newborn immunization with hepatitis B vaccine was recommended in 1991; however, safety findings are mixed. The Vaccine Safety Datalink Workgroup reported no association between hepatitis B vaccination at birth and febrile episodes or neurological adverse events. Other studies found positive associations between
    hepatitis B vaccination and ear infection, pharyngitis, and chronic arthritis; as well as receipt of early intervention/special education services (EIS); in probability samples of U.S. children. Children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) comprise a growing caseload for EIS. We evaluated the association between hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and parental report of ASD.

    METHODS: This cross-sectional study used U.S. probability samples obtained from National Health Interview Survey 1997-2002 datasets. Logistic regression modeling was used to estimate the effect of neonatal hepatitis B vaccination on ASD risk among boys age 3-17 years with shot records, adjusted for race, maternal education, and two-parent household.

    RESULTS: Boys who received the hepatitis B vaccine during the first month of life had 2.94 greater odds for ASD (nZ31 of 7,486; OR Z 2.94; p Z 0.03; 95% CI Z 1.10, 7.90)
    compared to later- or unvaccinated boys. Non-Hispanic white boys were 61% less likely to have ASD (ORZ0.39; pZ0.04; 95% CIZ0.16, 0.94) relative to non-white boys.

    CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine had a 3-fold greater risk of ASD; risk was greatest for non-white boys.

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