why do some parents not vaccinate their children
A third, and potentially the greatest, reason parents express for refusing vaccinations for their children are concerns about the safety of vaccines. Most of these concerns are based on information these parents have discovered in the media or received from acquaintances. Regardless of whether the stories stem from television, the Internet, radio, or from family and friends, parents are constantly bombarded with other peoples' opinions about vaccinations. ,
All of this information can be overwhelming for some parents to sift through, making it difficult for them to make their own well-informed decision. , Many of the reports and opinions that bombard parents and cause uncertainty are targeted at the safety of vaccines. They raise doubts about both short-term adverse reactions and the possibility of long-lasting negative effects. , It is these concerns about safety that can cause parents to completely refuse vaccines. found that the most commonly reported reason parents had for refusing one or more vaccines was other people or media reports. Stories in the popular media, such as social media and large-scale news outlets, are often sensationalized to elicit higher ratings and oftentimes spotlight a rare incident in which a child suffers as a result of an unforeseen side effect of a vaccine. Media that cite problems with components of vaccines (such as thimerosal) and report that vaccines can cause autism, brain damage, or behavioral problems cause parents to be more cautious and have more concerns regarding the safety of vaccines. , Thimerosal, however, has been removed from those vaccines intended for children under 6 years of age for over a decade now.
Accounts noting these rare occurrences breed fear in the hearts and minds of parents, who overestimate the dangers associated with vaccinations. Some fearful parents balk at the timing of immunizations. Fear can influence some parents to choose to delay vaccines so their child does not receive more than one vaccine at a time. They fear that simultaneously administering multiple vaccines may overload their child's immune system, and they think that allowing all of the vaccinations to occur according to the recommended schedule will make the safety risk greater. As a result of this logic, many choose to delay vaccines in order to better protect their children. , While some may view this as a missed opportunity, others believe that a delayed vaccination schedule is superior to not receiving vaccinations at all. Many parents believe the side effects of vaccines are more extensive than what they are told by their physicians and that the risks outweigh the benefits of vaccinating their children. , Healthy relationships between a practitioner and parent can go a long way toward helping patients in terms of this concern. Trust is paramount and will help put parents at ease and help them overcome unmerited fears. More parents are refusing to vaccinate their children now than a decade ago, but the reasons for refusals have changed, a new study suggests. Parents who their kids are now more likely to say their reason is that they do not see a need for vaccination, the researchers found. Pediatricians should continue to talk to parents who have concerns about vaccines to try to, said study co-author Dr. Catherine Hough-Telford, a pediatrician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In the study, researchers surveyed 627 pediatricians in 2013 and asked them whether their patients parents had ever refused a vaccination, or had asked to delay a vaccination. The researchers also asked pediatricians about their impressions of parents reasons for refusing or delaying their kids vaccination. The survey was a follow-up to an earlier one, with the same questions, conducted in 2006. [ The researchers found that in 2013, 87 percent of pediatricians surveyed said they encountered vaccine refusals from parents of their patients, up from 75 percent of pediatricians who said the same in 2006. This drop in what pediatricians perceive lines up with other research that has reported increasing rates of for nonmedical reasons, and increasing rates of children who are not receiving all or some of the vaccines they should receive for optimal health benefits, the researchers said in their study, published today (Aug. 29) in the journal Pediatrics. Pediatricians perceived that parents reasons for delaying vaccines were different from reasons that parents refused vaccinations altogether. For example, in the new survey, parents seemed to most commonly delay vaccination because they were concerned about their children s discomfort, and out of children s immune systems. In contrast, parents who refused to vaccinate their kids more commonly did so because they considered vaccines unnecessary, the researchers found. The percentage of pediatricians who said they perceived that parents refused to vaccinate their kids because they increased by 10 percent from 2006 to 2013, the researchers found.
However, parents concerns about the now-well-refuted link between vaccines and autism declined during this time period, from 74 percent of pediatricians who perceived it to be one of the top reasons for vaccine refusal among parents in 2006 to 64 percent in 2013. [ The 2006 survey was conducted just after the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was approved but before it was widely offered by pediatricians to patients, the researchers said. Although this vaccine has been shown to be effective against cervical cancer and other cancers, it has a lower acceptance rate than other vaccines. The increase in vaccine refusal rates observed in the study may be partially explained by the fact that the HPV vaccine was recommended around the time the second survey was conducted in 2013, and to use this vaccine for their kids. Still, the rise in the perceived rates of vaccine refusal and delay are likely more complex than a single vaccine, the researchers said. For example, pediatricians reported that, though some parents refused just one vaccine, others refused more than one vaccine, Hough-Telford said in a statement. One reason more parents may now think vaccines are unnecessary is that vaccine-preventable diseases are rare these days, and the public s memory of these diseases may be fading, Hough-Telford said. However, since the data for the study was last collected in 2013, there have been a couple of, particularly one in California, she noted. I think that that has potentially changed some perceptions about immunizations but I think it needs to be studied further, she told Live Science. Originally published on Live Science.
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