April 18, 2011 -- Two new studies seek to better understand parents’ attitudes about vaccine safety and analyze potential barriers to routine childhood vaccination. The new reports appear in a special vaccine safety supplement in journal Pediatrics.
There has been some concern about vaccine safety and risks in recent years due in part to the increasing number of recommended vaccines, conflicting safety information, and a widely publicized study suggesting that certain vaccines may increase risk for autism. This study was publically refuted, but it has had lasting repercussions on some parent’s attitudes about vaccine safety. As a result, there has been some concern about a possible resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.
In one report, the majority of parents with at least one child aged 6 or younger believe that vaccines are important for their children’s health and they were “confident” or "very confident” in vaccine safety. Overall, 93.4% said that their youngest child had received or would receive all the recommended vaccines. But parents did express some concerns about pain from the shots, too many vaccines during one visit, and fever.
About one in five parents were not confident about the safety and importance of childhood vaccines.
“In general, the study results are very reassuring,” says study author Allison Kennedy, MPH, an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta. “Overall, parents had high confidence in vaccine safety and most plan to fully vaccinate their child, but we also saw that parents did have questions and some concerns even if they were planning to fully vaccinate their children."
The main source of information on childhood immunization and vaccine safety in this study was the pediatrician and/or nurse.