Media shifts parents’ perception about vaccinations

Washington, July 6 (IANS) Due to media coverage of disease outbreaks, most of the parents in the US now believe that vaccination is safer for kids than they thought a year ago, says a poll.

Over the same time period that multiple outbreaks of measles and whooping cough made headlines around the country, parents’ views on vaccines became more favourable, according to a nationally-representative poll.

“The news reports about measles and whooping cough may have influenced how parents perceive childhood vaccines across the country,” said Matthew M Davis, director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and professor of paediatrics at University of Michigan.

For a quarter to a third of parents to say that their views on the safety and benefits of vaccines have shifted in just a year’s time is quite remarkable.

Parents’ perceptions that vaccines are safer and offer more benefits are also consistent their stronger support of daycare and school entry requirements for immunisations.

For the poll, the researchers asked parents how their views on vaccinations changed between 2014 and 2015 during which two dozen measles outbreaks were reported in the US.

One-third of parents indicated they now perceived more benefits of vaccines, while one-quarter perceived vaccines to be safer now than a year ago.

One-third of parents also reported being more supportive of school and daycare entry requirements for vaccination than they were the previous year.

Outbreaks of disease can safely be prevented through childhood vaccination.

“But there are deeply-held convictions about parents’ autonomy and remaining concerns among some parents about vaccine safety,” Davis said.

Media coverage of outbreaks over the past year, accompanied by messages about vaccines for whooping cough and measles, may be swaying parents’ opinions toward stronger beliefs in the positive aspects of vaccines, the authors said.

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