Most U.S. Kids Get Recommended Vaccines: CDC06/09/11
THURSDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although nearly all
American children get the recommended vaccinations to prevent
serious diseases, many parents express concerns about the shots,
and a small number refuse to have their kids inoculated, according
to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 95 percent of parents said their kids had received all the
vaccinations or would get them all, which was a record high, a 2010
survey found. But about 5 percent of parents said they would
decline some vaccines, and 2 percent said their little ones would
receive no vaccines, the researchers said.
"We are reassured that, overall, parents are vaccinating their kids according to the recommended schedule," said lead researcher Allison Kennedy, an epidemiologist in CDC's Immunization Services Division.
"But we did find that most parents do have questions or concerns about vaccines," she said.
Better education efforts could resolve those doubts, Kennedy
said. Doctors need information on the value and safety record of
vaccines so they can help parents make an informed decision.
Recent outbreaks of mumps, measles and whooping cough show that
these deadly diseases still exist, Kennedy said. "Because of
successful vaccination programs," many young parents don't remember
when these diseases were epidemic, she noted.
The report is published in the June issue of
For the study, Kennedy's team used data from the annual
HealthStyles survey, which gathered information on parental
attitudes toward childhood vaccination from 376 households.
While 23 percent of the parents said they had no concerns about
vaccines, most had one or more concerns, the researchers found.
Parents mentioned pain from the injection, getting too many
shots at one time and the safety of ingredients in the
Some parents also worried that vaccines could cause disease or
are being given for illnesses children are unlikely to get, the
Parents who said their kids would not get all the recommended
vaccinations were likely to think too many vaccines are given in
the first two years of life or that vaccines can cause learning
difficulties, especially autism. The autism theory has been widely
One in three parents added that they are not satisfied with the
information they get from their children's doctor about the safety
and necessity of vaccines.
Much of the information parents get about vaccines comes from
their doctor or friends, Kennedy said. One-quarter said they took
their information from the Internet, twice the number seen in a
different survey in 2009, the researchers pointed out.
Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and
director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of
Philadelphia, is concerned -- but not surprised -- that resistance
to vaccination still exists.
Offit, an outspoken advocate of vaccination, said the movement
against vaccinations has resulted in outbreaks of diseases all but
unheard of just a few years ago.
"I try to reassure parents with the science," he said. And he tells them that a decision against vaccination is not risk-free. "It's a choice to take a different and more serious risk," he explained.
"We are seeing outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough to degrees we haven't seen in the previous 10 years. It's a dangerous and, frankly, a misinformed choice not to get a vaccine," he said.
Before vaccines, whooping cough killed 8,000 children in the
United States annually, diphtheria was a common cause of death
among young people, and polio caused tens of thousands of cases of
paralysis, he pointed out. Measles resulted in 3,000 to 5,000
deaths, Offit said.
Even though the data linking vaccines to autism has been
discredited, some people still believe it, he noted.
"We are far more compelled by fear than reason, and fear wins," Offit said. "We don't fear the diseases, so it's very easy to scare us about these other things," he stated.
But as outbreaks of preventable diseases become more common, "we
will get to a level where we will be scared enough of the diseases
again that we will start to vaccinate again," Offit said.
For more about vaccines, visit
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