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Poll Finds More Parents See Benefits, Safety of Vaccines

Reports on outbreaks of measles, pertussis in past year may have shifted opinions, pediatrician says

THURSDAY, July 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) — American parents’ views about childhood vaccines became more favorable over the past year, a new poll indicates.

“Over the last year, there have been high-profile news stories about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and pertussis. These news reports may be influencing how parents perceive childhood vaccines across the country,” Matthew Davis, M.D., director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, said in a university news release. Davis is also a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.

The researchers conducted their survey in May. About 40 percent of the parents in the poll said they believe the risk of measles for children is higher than it was a year ago. Around 45 percent of parents said the risk is the same. But, 15 percent said the risk of measles is lower than it was a year ago. The researchers found that one-third more parents recognize the benefits of vaccines, compared to a year earlier. They also found that one-quarter more parents believed vaccines were safe than did last year. Additionally, one-third more parents than last year supported requirements that children be vaccinated before entering day care and school.

“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,” Davis said.

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