Acceptance of vaccines correlates with trust in government

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A recent study found that there may be a correlation between the willingness to receive vaccinations and an individual’s confidence in the government.

The study used data from a national survey conducted in 2009 that sought Americans’ views of the vaccine for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu.

The 2009 survey reported that respondents with independent and Republican views were less like to voluntarily receive the vaccine than people with Democratic views, but researchers behind the latest study believe the issue has nothing to do with politics.

"I believe it is a lack of confidence in government -- not political affiliation -- that may unite the anti-vaccination people in our study with those from today," Ken Schwirian, sociology professor at The Ohio State University, said. "Even in our study, about a third of Democrats said they were not likely to get swine flu vaccine and many of those had low confidence in government."

Schwirian and fellow researcher Gustavo Mesch, of the University of Haifa in Israel, used a statistical model to re-examine the results of the 2009 survey and determined that people who trusted the government's ability to deal with the swinfe flu outbreak were three times more likely to get the vaccine.

Schwirian and Mesch said those respondent who didn't trust in the government's ability were more likely to be older, politically conservative, middle income individuals who didn't watch news reports about the swine flu outbreak. 

"Republicans were the most likely to have less confidence in government, so that's why we saw this strong relationship between Republican affiliation and skepticism about the swine flu vaccine," Schwirian said.

Results of this latest study were recently published on the Health Promotion International website.