The Vaccines That Worry Parents Most
March 27, 2010
A study conducted at the University of Michigan shows that, although parents overwhelmingly share the belief that vaccines are a good way to protect their children from disease, these same parents express concerns regarding potential adverse effects of vaccines.
They especially seem to question the safety of new vaccines.
The study is based on a survey of more than 1,500 parents that was conducted last year. About 12 percent of parents said they had refused to allow their children to receive a vaccine that a doctor recommended.
Those parents tended to shy away from four vaccines:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, because of concerns about side effects
- Vaccine for meningococcal diseases, because of the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune system disorder
- The shot for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), because of potential autism risk
- Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
Of those who said they had refused a certain vaccine for their child(ren), the greatest share of parents said their concerns were based on something they had read, or heard, about the vaccine. An almost equal number said they believed that the risk for adverse effects from the vaccine was too great.
The study’s authors concluded that this finding indicates that current public health education campaigns on vaccine safety have not been effective, and that officials should make a better attempt at assuaging parents’ safety concerns.
The authors also suggested that the use of newer social marketing techniques (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) might be potential strategies for spreading the word about vaccines.