The percentage of American kids getting all their shots has never been higher. However, parents continue to be concerned about vaccines' safety. Immunization schedules have become more complex and a significant number of parents and caregivers still wonder how necessary they all are, authors reported in the journal Health Affairs. Only 23% of parents surveyed said they had no concerns about childhood vaccines.
Even though several scientific studies have failed to find a link between vaccine and autism rates, the issue remains a worry. Other concerns include whether the child would ever be exposed to the pathogen, or whether the vaccines had been tested enough for safety.
Allison Kennedy, an epidemiologist in the Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, part of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and team surveyed 376 parents who had at least one child aged less than six years.
They found that (total exceeds 100% because of rounding up):
- 83% of them said their children had had all the recommended shots
- 11% planned to get them done
- 5% said they would only let their children take some of the recommended vaccines
- 2% said their children would not be given any shots
- Most parents still see their child's doctor as a major source of information on vaccines. However, one third of those surveyed were not completely satisfied with information pediatricians gave them on the safety and need of vaccines.
- A quarter of parents said that today they gather data on vaccines from the internet, twice as many as in 2009.
"We found that most parents - even those whose children receive all of the recommended vaccines - have questions, concerns, or misperceptions about them. We suggest ways to give parents the information they need and to keep the US national vaccination program a success."
"Confidence About Vaccines In The United States: Understanding Parents' Perceptions"
Allison Kennedy, Katherine LaVail, Glen Nowak, Michelle Basket and Sarah Landry
Health Affairs June 2011 vol. 30 no. 6 1151-1159. Doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0396
Written by Christian Nordqvist