Saturday April 19th 2014

Immunization education needed

Most children in the United States are getting regularly scheduled immunizations for infant and childhood diseases. But a new survey published in the June Health Affairs shows that some parents are not persuaded that all vaccines are safe or even necessary.

The results of the survey, analyzed by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Program Office, suggest that more should be done to address parents’ concerns.

“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,” said lead author Allison Kennedy, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Immunization Services Division. “These findings point us toward what we need to focus on to better answer questions and concerns parents have about why immunization is important.”

Using data from the 2010 “HealthStyles” survey — conducted annually by Porter Novelli — Kennedy and co-authors surveyed 376 households and examined parental vaccine behaviors, attitudes, concerns, and what sources of information they rely on to learn about vaccines.

Although 23 percent of parents reported that they had no concern about vaccines, most parents reported at least one question or concern regarding children suffering physical pain from shots, getting too many shots in one visit, getting too many vaccines before age two, and receiving vaccines containing unsafe ingredients.

The June Health Affairs is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To learn more about ANA-related work and to sign up for ImmuNews to stay up to date on immunization information and research, go to www.anaimmunize.org.

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