Sabtu, 11 Juni 2011

Survey Shows Most Parents Have Concerns Over Child Vaccination Safety

Although record numbers of American children are getting vaccinated, a new survey shows that the majority of parents continue to have concerns. Results of the research indicate a strong need for providing both healthcare providers and parents with evidence of the major benefits of vaccines and how these benefits far outweigh the minimal risks for side effects associated with them. The survey is published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

The data shows that a number of parents remain unconvinced that vaccines are truly necessary and that they are safe for their children. The survey results were analyzed by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a joint effort with investigators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Program Office. Their findings suggest that more action needs to be taken to address the doubts and uncertainties of concerned parents.

According to lead author Allison Kennedy, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Immunization Services Division, “The good news is that almost all parents are getting their children vaccinated. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all parents have a high level of confidence in those vaccines. She went on to explain, “These findings point us toward what we need to focus on to better answer questions and concerns parents have about why immunization is important.”

Kennedy pointed out that parents should be provided with detailed knowledge of the importance having infants immunized prior to the age of two years. She acknowledged, “That is when children are very vulnerable to contracting severe disease.” In addition, regarding the safety of vaccines, she noted, “There is no credible evidence that vaccines are associated with learning disabilities, including autism.”

Research Details
For their analysis, the researchers used data from the 2010 HealthStyles survey, an annual survey conducted by Porter Novelli. The research team surveyed a total of 376 households and focused on such factors as parental behaviors regarding vaccines, as well as their attitudes, concerns, and information sources for vaccine education.

While 23 percent of parents reported having no concerns about vaccines, the majority of parents reporting having at least one question or concern regarding such issues as the physical pain suffered by children from receiving shots, receiving too many shots in a single visit, having two many vaccines prior to the age of two, and the safety of vaccines ingredients.

In addition, other concerns were noted regarding the amount of testing done on a vaccine prior to deeming it safe, and the possibility that the vaccine could cause chronic disease, coupled with the idea that children would be given the vaccine to prevent diseases that they had little likelihood of contracting.

The findings of the survey revealed that while only about 2 percent of parents reported that their children would not receive any recommended vaccines, another 5 percent said that their children would get only some of the vaccines. Among parents who would have their children vaccinated for only a portion of the recommended vaccines, there were more concerns reported about childhood vaccines. These parents had a greater likelihood of believing that children receive too many vaccines prior to age two, which may contribute to the development of learning disabilities, such as autism.

The analysis also found that while the primary information sources for parents regarding the safety and benefits of vaccines in order are pediatricians, family, and friends, with the information age 25 percent of parents reported getting their information from the internet, which is more than double the number of parents who reported getting information from the web-based sites in a different 2009 survey.

Among the top three information sources used were the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. Kennedy noted that the CDC needs to do more research to improve their understanding of what information sources are being used by parents, including their use of the Internet, in order to be sure they are provided with accurate information. In addition, although health providers continue to be a top source of information for parents, one in three parents surveyed reported not being satisfied with the information obtained from pediatricians regarding the safety and necessity of vaccines.

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