why do parents believe vaccines cause autism
A disturbingly high number of parents 1 in 4 believe that vaccines can cause autism in otherwise healthy children, researchers are reporting Monday. The finding marks the first time researchers have asked parents about their thoughts on the relationship between vaccines and autism. It comes as part of a wider study on parental perceptions of vaccines published online ahead of the April issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study is based on data collected from a national survey of 1552 parents. Though some parents have expressed concerns for years about a link between vaccines and autism, it remained unclear until now exactly how pervasive the worries were. The new finding indicates that apprehensions run high, with 23 percent of parents believing that vaccines can cause autism, a statistic that is alarming to researchers who say there s no credible evidence of a link. It means that the public health community and the medical community isn t doing a good enough job in providing information to parents to help them understand the risks and benefits to vaccines, says Dr. Gary L. Freed, director of general pediatrics at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study. Widespread concerns about a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine emerged from a now discredited 1998 study conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Numerous studies since found no link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Nonetheless, many parents cheered on by a handful of celebrities and doctors remain convinced the two are associated, leading some parents not to vaccinate their children.
Earlier this month, Wakefield s study was officially retracted from The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal where his findings were initially published. The retraction came after a British medical panel recently determined that the doctor acted dishonestly and irresponsiblyÁ in conducting his research. The study published Monday looking at parental beliefs about vaccines was conducted before the Wakefield study was retracted and Freed acknowledges that recent events could have altered parent perceptions. Despite the high level of parental concern reported in the study, the vast majority of parents do vaccinate their children. Just 11. 5 percent of parents said they refused a vaccine that was recommended by their child s doctor. And in the vast majority of cases, it wasn t the MMR vaccine that they declined. Of those who did decline the MMR vaccine, most said they did so because they had read or heard about problems with it. Even though most parents do end up vaccinating their children, Freed says concerns about vaccines need to be addressed. I m sure there s a lot of angst that goes along with that concern and that concern can also be translated into either hesitancy or refusal of vaccines that can prevent life threatening diseases in children, says Freed. I think that oftentimes we in the health community dance around different issues and perhaps what we really need to do is address specific concerns that parents have in a deliberate way.
Theá contrast between parentsÁ attitudes about vaccines today and a decade ago is striking.
A survey published Monday by the shows thatá more and more moms and dads are refusingá the shots for their children. Much of the blame for this phenomenon can be attributed to continuing claimsá from everyone from actor Jim Carrey to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about the Á an idea that originated with a paper later and thatá numerous scientific teamsá have tested exhaustively and. But while many parentsÁ scrutiny ofá vaccines may haveá been triggered by the autism theories, they have grown beyond those initial concerns. [ ] The AAP study involves a random sampling of about 630á members in 2006 and again in 2013. They found that in 2006, 75 percent of pediatricians who responded had encountered parents who refused vaccines. By 2013, it was up to 87 percent. ThatÁs a big change, but the more interesting part of the survey is why. In 2006, the No. 1 reason parents were refusing vaccines was because of concerns about the ingredient thimerosal causing autism. In 2006, 74 said it was aboutá autism. á In 2013, that number had declined to 64 percent. Now, more parents are refusing the vaccine on the grounds that they are ÁunnecessaryÁ Á 73. 1 percent in 2013 vs. 63. 4 percent in 2006. Moreover, evená parents whoá believe in vaccines appear to beá delaying the shots that are supposed to be given on a strict schedule to maximize their effectiveness. Seventy-five percent of pediatricians said that parents asked for delays because of worries about their child's "discomfort" and 72. 5 percent because of a concern "for immune system burden. " [ ] ThatÁs stunning because ofá the scary history of infectious disease in this country.
Polio once killed and paralyzed by the hundreds. An outbreak in New York City in 1916 left an estimated 27,000 people infected and 6,000 dead. The disease is now making a comeback in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan because ofá poor immunization rates. á In a 1964-65 rubella outbreak that is being, 1,000 babies miscarried or were aborted, and 20,000 others were born with defects because ofá rubella. A rubella vaccine is now one of the standard vaccines given in childhood. The rapid speed at which a modern outbreak can spread was underscored iná 2014-2015 when a single unvaccinated child with measles at Disneyland in California started an outbreak thatá spread to 146 people, many of whom were also unvaccinated. There were no deaths, but many became so seriously ill that they had to be hospitalized. A lot of the recent controversy over vaccines has focused on a new vaccine for HPV, or human papillomavirus, for preteens or teenagers. The adoption of this vaccine has been low, in part because parents and to discuss the fact that it protects against a sexually transmitted virus. Health officials have been focusing on the vaccineÁs effectiveness for instead. [ ] The AAP paperÁs publication coincidentally comes during a week when thereÁs yet another outbreak in the United States of an infectious disease we can prevent through immunizations.
In recent months, at least 36 people have contracted mumps Á whose symptoms include puffy cheeks and possibly serious respiratory symptoms Á in one Long Island town. Health officials said that some of those infected had been vaccinated, leading them to wonder whether there is a new strain going around, but that they still believe immunization provides the best precaution and urged everyone in the area who has not gotten the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to get it right away. ÁWeÁre trying to prevent this from getting larger,Á Lawrence Eisenstein, Nassau County's health commissioner, toldá. The AAP expressed alarm about the findings of the study, stating that "parental noncompliance" with the recommended schedule of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "is an increasing public health concern. " If the AAPÁs urging and the description of some of these outbreaks isnÁt enough to persuadeá you to get yourself or your kids vaccinated, thereÁs also this. The pediatrician survey also showed that more doctors are pushing back at parents who refuse vaccines for their children. In 2006, only 6. 1 percent said they ÁalwaysÁ dismiss patients for this. In 2014, 11. 7 percent said they always dismiss patients. So if you continue to refuse vaccines, itÁs your right Á but it may be harderá to find a pediatrician willing to support that choice than before. This post has been updated. Read more: á for more science news about the ins and outs of the human body and mind, essays and advice. You caná á for our newsletter.
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