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More Parents Postpone or Skip Vaccinations

The percentage of parents who refused or delayed vaccinations for their children rose sharply in the past decade, according to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vanacouver on Tuesday.

Nearly 40 percent of parents refused or delayed vaccinations for their kids in 2008, up from 22 percent in 2003, according to the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Rochester and the National Opinion Research Center.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the 2008 National Immunization Survey, which asked nearly 9,000 parents of children 19 months-35 months if they had delayed or refused a vaccine, and if so, why.

The results showed about 31 per cent of parents with 24- to 35-month-old children intentionally delayed the vaccinationos for their child in 2008, and 12 per cent intentionally refused vaccines.

Parents refused or delayed vaccinations for various reasons, including the health of the child, the belief that recommended vaccines were excessive, questions about their effectiveness, and concerns about their possible side effects or the safety of vaccines.

According to the study, 25% of those who didn’t vaccinate were concerned about autism –  although there has been no proven scientific link.

“Children whose parents delay or refuse vaccinations may be at increased risk of not receiving all recommended vaccine doses by 19 months and thus more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases,” the study’s authors concluded.

Childhood vaccinations continue to be a hot-button issue. Just last week, PBS’ Frontline found itself in the center of the debate with its documentary, “The Vaccine War.”

Interestingly, about 40% more children received the seasonal flu vaccine this year than the previous year, the CDC found.

Photo: Jason Dunn

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