95% US Kids Vaccinated, But Parents Still Have (Autism) Worries

95 percent of US children receive all their recommended vaccinations or would get them all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2010 survey of parents in the US also found that about 5 percent of parents said they would decline having their child receive some vaccines, and 2 percent said their children would receive no vaccines. Further, many parents continue to have concerns about vaccines. Those who said their children would not get all the recommended vaccines often cite suspicions that vaccines or something in vaccines could be linked to autism, even though such theories have been widely discredited.

Writing in Health Affairs, Allison Kennedy, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Immunization Services Division, says that “… we did find that most parents do have questions or concerns about vaccines.” As she tells USA Today, “better education efforts could resolve those doubts.” In particular, doctors need information about the safety of vaccines to help reassure parents. Kennedy also cited recents outbreaks of mumps, measles and whooping cough in the US as reasons for parents to make sure their children do receive their immunizations.

Kennedy’s study, Confidence About Vaccines In The United States: Understanding Parents’ Perceptions, surveyed 376 households to find out parental attitudes toward childhood vaccination:

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 vaccines.

Some parents also worried that vaccines could cause disease or are being given for illnesses children are unlikely to get, the investigators found.

Notably, one in three parents expressed dissatisfaction with the information they get “information they get from their children’s doctor about the safety and necessity of vaccines” and one-quarter get their information from the Internet.

Granted, people routinely turn to the Internet for information about health. It’s readily accessible — especially if it’s the middle of the night and your child breaks out into a strange rash for instance — and it’s empowering to find out such information on one’s own, rather than always having to rely on experts. The problem is in knowing what information is accurate. For a parent, even a “suspicion” that a vaccine might/could be a reason for a child having neurological damage is enough to raise doubts.

As Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, has written in his most recent book, Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, suspicion about vaccines has existed for as long as vaccines themselves have. As he says in USA Today:

“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.

Scientific studies disputing a vaccine-autism link often, sadly, do not seem to reassure parents who (often again through the Internet) find “studies” that seem to offer “evidence” to the contrary. People do need to be kept informed about more research pointing to a genetic basis for autism spectrum disorders, and that getting an infectious disease like measles is serious and life-threatening. Raising an autistic child like my son has many challenges but we are grateful that he is healthy and happy, and yes, he is up-to-date on his immunizations.


Related Care2 Coverage

New Genetic Studies Suggest Why Autism Is More Common In Boys Than Girls

Wakefield’s Study Linking Vaccines to Autism was ‘Deliberate Fraud’

Photo by Andres Rueda.


Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga6 years ago

The problem is not just autism.
Where was ethics and morals or even the law when, after catching BigPharma knowingly distributing AIDs contaminated products to Americans, they were stopped from distributing the contaminated stock in the USA but allowed tax deductions for giving the knowingly contaminated stock as 'aid' to other countries and getting donations from aid agencies to do so.
This is just 1 reason why hundreds of countries no longer trust the US govt or businesses.
No one in america was prosecuted for knowingly killing thousands around the world this way.
Please explain!
Because of this destruction of trust the whole vaccine industry has been discredited, further so with the discovery of Swine Flu in Baxters annual 'cold & flu immunisations in europe, which was impossible to have occurred by accident, note they had the patent for the cure of the disease they were covertly spreading.
The persecution of Stanislaw Burzinsky who patented a successfull cure for cancer by the same corporations who didn't want their trillion dollar radiation/chemo therapies income adversely affected. See the very well documentary on this and have your eyes opened!

Maarja L.
Maarja L6 years ago

If I had to choose between the tiny risk that my child might be autistic (which isn't even proved) and the considerably larger risk that he/she will die of something that could have been prevented, I'd take the former any time.

Jessica Stevens
Jessica Stevens6 years ago

Heather O. says
Jun 13, 2011 2:48 PM

Then in YOUR neice's case HERS wasn't caused by vaccines, but that doesn't mean OTHERS weren't. Going by your standards people who overeat should never get fat even though it's proven that if you overeat you CAN get fat. There is no one size fits all for anyone, esp when it comes to medical conditions....

Furthermore, I NEVER stated Autism was ONLY caused by vaccines. I firmly believe that there is many causes (genetics, environment, ect) but for a number of us, vaccines played a major role. Autism is, as you should know, a spectrum. If you've met one child with Autism you've only just met one child. While some cannot speak, some can. While some are high functioning, some are low functioning...

Jennifer B.
Jennifer M6 years ago

Pumping my child with heavy metals, formaldehyde, fetal tissue... I think not. If vaccines were really safe, Big Pharma would be completely transparent with their information, but they aren't. And now, when a child does have a horrible reaction, you can't even file a lawsuit. How is that for "safe"? They are hiding the real truth. It's about money. The sooner people realize that, the sooner we can get them to change these ridiculous policies. I mean, a Hep B shot for an infant?? Pretty sure infants don't have sex or share needles... If you want to vaccinate, that's your choice, but you have NO right to say I'm stupid or idiotic for choosing to not vax, as I won't say that to you. Japan has delayed ALL vaccines until age 2. Guess what?? Adverse reactions have dramatically decreased. We must learn from things like this!! The US is WAY behind. But of course, it's all about the money here :(

Michael S.
Michael S.6 years ago

Eric, please cite peer-reviewed scientific journals or results if you wish to attempt to make such a claim. Just because something is on the internet does not make it true.

Liberty G.
Liberty Goodwin6 years ago

Some have already said it, but it bears repeating:

THERE IS NO (ONE) CAUSE FOR AUTISM OR FOR ANY DISEASE/HEALTH CONDITION! (Nor any "magic bullets" for there cure). Humans always want a simple (simplistic) answer to everything.

Illness and disfunction are the result of a combination of factors - genetic vulnerability, environmental and chemical exposures, stress, psychological etc.

Healing is accomplished in a variety of ways and modalities - and one size does not fit all.

monica r.
monica r6 years ago

A few thoughts.

Maybe EMFs should be taken more seriously. Do countries where there is low incidence of autism have low incidence of cell phones, power lines, wifi, etc, as well?

As to vaccines, from the polio vaccine on, they KILL kids. So do all these psych drugs we are giving kids. Some psychiatrists talk about diagnosing things like bipolar IN UTERO. These drugs can cause suicidal/violent behavior. Pharmacists say if it hasn't been out in the market 7 years, you are a lab rat if you take it.

And since the DSM is a poll, not science, that is scary. Read it. You could at any given time, be diagnosed as mentally ill. Everyone fits some range of "symptoms", at least at some time in life. Can they have you committed????

Eric Lees
Eric Lees6 years ago

"Before the first Salk vaccine trials, polio incidence had already declined greatly. Decline was even greater by the time the Salk and Sabine vaccines came into widespread use. The intensive use in 1958 was followed by more than a doubling of incidence. At no time after the introduction of the two vaccines against polio was decline greater than before vaccine introduction."

Michael S.
Michael S.6 years ago

The people who criticize vaccines, and this author for using scientifically sound evidence to defend them, are frankly idiots. Vaccines are a public health benefit to society. The statistical science underlying almost every vaccine is quite sound and convincing. The benefits to society outweigh the risks to individuals, using a sound statistical model. I recommend each of you who is against them please move to an isolated island where you do not receive the benefits of a more physically and fiscally healthy population provided by vaccines and good public health, and you can't contaminate my family with disease.
Yes, pharma companies benefit from them, but we as a society benefit much more in a plethora of ways. I do wish no one got to profit off this marvelous invention, but I also wish healthcare was seen as a human right, and the US had single payer.

Heather O.
Heather O6 years ago

@Cindy S: To be fair,I was being pretty sarcastic with my response to all the people who are foaming at the mouth about the link between vaccines and autism. As I stated to William, I absolutely believe in genetic pre-dispositions, not just to spectrum disorders, but to a wide and varied range of things.

Example:If you go right down my maternal line you'll find three things in common: PCOS(specifically),depression and auto-immune diseases.My great-grandmother and grandmother had and have Rheumatoid Arthritis.So far my mother still tests negative for it, but I have ulcerative colitis which comes with a side order of inflammatory peripheral arthritis, amongst other complications.Just in four generations, there's a genetic pattern.

Another example,outside of the spectrum is my husband's maternal side. (We don't know anything about his paternity) His grandmother had a heart condition. His mother died of complications from multiple heart attacks/episodes(type II Diabetes). Both my children were born with heart defects, one of them fatal, and one minor. Is that genetics or just the random bad luck that happens in 3% of all pregnancies? Dunno.

I will say I really don't believe that vaccine exposure early in life will trip someone's genetic autism wire.I've researched both sides and until and unless someone shows up with more compelling evidence,I'll stand by that.

I DO believe,however,in delaying and spacing vaccs. To me, that just seems like good common sense.