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Parents' vaccine concerns on the rise, making accurate information crucial

e Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit surveyed a random national sample of pediatricians and family physicians. Of the 743 who responded to the survey, the number of physicians reporting that at least one parent had refused a vaccination for his or her child in the last year was large: 93 percent of pediatricians and 60 percent of family physicians.

Pediatricians were about twice as likely as family physicians to say that refusals had been rising. Conversely, family physicians were more likely than pediatricians to say that refusals were falling.

When it came to concerns expressed by parents before they allowed their children to receive a vaccine, more than two-thirds of all the physicians -- 69 percent -- felt that the number of concerns had increased substantially over the past year.

Concerns about long-term serious complications were most likely to be cited by the physicians as being on the rise, with about 28 percent saying they had heard more of such concerns in the last year. Nineteen percent said immune system effects was the most common area of concern that was on the rise, while 16 percent said the concern they heard most and were hearing more often was from parents who wondered how much children really needed all the vaccines recommended by the CDC.

When asked about the frequency with which parents expressed concerns about known vaccine effects and unproven effects, about one-third of all the physicians said they sometimes or often heard concerns about the kinds of effects listed on the CDC's Vaccine Information Statements (VIS), such as pain and fever. But a roughly equal proportion of all physicians said they sometimes or often hear parental concerns about effects that aren't on the VISs and haven't been shown to be linked to vaccines.

Pediatricians were more likely than family physicians to report that parents sometimes or often voiced concerns about effects listed on the VIS, as well as unsubst
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
16-Dec-2003


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