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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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WebMD Survey: Safety Biggest Vaccine Worry for Parents

Despite Concerns 77% Will Follow Vaccine Recommendations

Which Vaccines Parents Refuse Most continued...

For similar reasons, 4% of respondents said their kids hadn't gotten the pneumococcal vaccine; 3% for the hepatitis A, meningitis, and rotavirus vaccines; 2% for the hepatitis B, Hib, and measles-mumps-rubella vaccine; and 1% for the polio and diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough vaccines.

Safety wasn't the only concern. Some parents cited "religious or philosophical reasons" for not getting one or more vaccines. For instance, among those parents whose kids hadn't been vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella (the MMR vaccine), 23% said they oppose vaccines for religious/philosophical reasons.

Does Vaccine Info Change Vaccine Opinions?

The survey suggests that while parents are actively seeking out information, they aren't making health decisions based solely on what they find online. When asked about important influences on their choices about childhood vaccination, 88% say their doctor's advice is somewhat or very important.

"Having a good relationship and dialogue with your child’s health care provider can help guide you through the [vaccine] information you've found, and can give you a chance to voice concerns and ask questions," Chang says.

Because of the nature of the WebMD survey, which asked questions of WebMD users, participants tended to be savvy about finding health information. But they aren't always willing to change their opinions based on what they find.

For example, the WebMD survey asked whether people had heard that the research originally linking the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism was found to be a fraud.

Vaccine Autism And VaccinesOf the 189 participants who said they knew of this, 28% said they still believed the MMR vaccine can cause autism. On the other hand, 13% said the news changed their minds and that they no longer believe in the vaccine-autism link.

Similarly, WebMD asked respondents if they'd heard of the whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in California. Of the 690 who said they had, 17% said the news made them more likely to vaccinate their children. But 12% said the news made them no more likely to vaccinate their children. Thirteen percent said that even though they were more likely to vaccinate their kids, they still worried about vaccine side effects.

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