Parents’ attitudes toward vaccines change with outbreaks

Parents’ vaccine opinions changing
Parents’ vaccine opinions changing | Courtesy of
According to a recent U.S. study, parents’ opinions for vaccines have been improving.

"Over the last year, there have been high-profile news stories about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough,” Matthew Davis, director of the National Poll on Children's Health, said. “These news reports may be influencing how parents perceive childhood vaccines across the country."

The poll shows that there is a correlation between the parents’ opinions and the multiple outbreaks of whooping cough and measles, both of which made major headlines throughout the U.S. The change in parents’ opinions and the outbreak coverage occurred at the same time.

"For a quarter to a third of parents to say that their views on the safety and benefits of vaccines have shifted in just a year's time is quite remarkable,” Davis said. “Parents' perceptions that vaccines are safer and offer more benefits are also consistent their stronger support of daycare and school entry requirements for immunizations. 

"Outbreaks of disease can safely be prevented through childhood vaccination, but there are deeply-held convictions about parents' autonomy and remaining concerns among some parents about vaccine safety," he said. "Media coverage of outbreaks over the past year, accompanied by messages about vaccines for whooping cough and measles, may be swaying parents' opinions toward stronger beliefs in the positive aspects of vaccines. The impact of such shifts in perception will ultimately be measured by whether more parents vaccinate their kids."