Most Parents Vaccinate Their Children Despite Concerns

Vaccine safety information comes from health care providers, media, Internet, friends, family

THURSDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although the majority of U.S. parents vaccinate their children, most have questions and concerns, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

Allison Kennedy, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed parents' confidence in childhood vaccines by reviewing data from the 2010 HealthStyles survey. Responses from 367 parents or guardians of children aged 6 years or younger were analyzed to identify immunization intentions and behaviors, concerns about vaccines, and ways of finding information about immunization.

The investigators found that a majority of parents had already vaccinated or planned to vaccinate their children. However, even those whose children receive all of the recommended vaccines have questions, concerns, or misperceptions regarding vaccination. Concerns include children suffering physical pain from the shot, getting too many shots in one visit, getting too many vaccines before age 2, and vaccines containing unsafe ingredients. Most parents actively seek information about vaccine safety before vaccinating their child. Sources of information include the media, the Internet, family, and friends. For 85 percent of parents, health care professionals were one of the three most important sources of information, and just over half of parents strongly agreed that they trusted the vaccine advice of their child's health care provider.

"Only through ongoing education and commitment to communication and dialogue with parents can we be confident that children will get the vaccines they need," the authors write.

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