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More Parents Postpone or Skip Vaccinations

By paulabernstein |

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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About paulabernstein



Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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0 thoughts on “More Parents Postpone or Skip Vaccinations

  1. Susan B-K says:

    If there’s no scientific study to show that vaccinations cause autism, I’m not really sure why a parent would wish to risk her children’s health. I always vaccinate my kids on schedule, and when other parents don’t, their kids are safe because of my kids and other kids who have been vaccinated, not because their kids didn’t get the vaccine.

  2. Laure68 says:

    I believe a lot of this has been fear-mongering by the media. (If it bleeds, it reads.) However, in the past year, I have seen some excellent, science-based pieces (the Frontline episodes, Wired magazine from last November, an article about the dangers of chelation from the Chicago Tribune) and I am hoping this will help turn the tide back to science and reason.

  3. calicopie says:

    I am a big fan of science and reason. I have an engineering degree. But I still delayed my child’s vaccinations. I gave him the first series of 4 shots as recommended and he had a bad reaction– fever, sleepy, grouchy. Yes, not horrible, but a fever in a young baby is always scary. So I talked to my doc and the next time we only gave him one shot and he did much better. So now we go in more frequently for fewer shots each visit and his shots are a little behind. He’ll still be fully vaccinated by the time he starts preschool so I don’t see what the big deal is. That vaccination schedule is partially designed knowing that parents don’t want to or can’t bring their kids into the doctor every month for a shot so they try to group as many as reasonable into each visit. Also, the newer a vaccine is the less likely I am to give it to my child. We’ve all heard stories about approved drugs that get pulled after a few years due to previously undetected and often serious side effects. Being cautious about the drugs being given to our children is perfectly reasonable.

  4. E says:

    I’m with caliopie. We’ve done the same thing. Instead of getting 5 or 6 shots at once we space them out and go more often. Sure, we pay a little more for office visits, but to me the piece of mind is worth it. I believe in science, I don’t think vaccines cause autism. But I also know I feel crappy after getting my flu shit. And that’s one shot. And I’m a grown up.

    We also delayed the hep b vaccine at birth. It didn’t make any sense to vaccinate for an STI in my one day old. When I asked the nurse about it she told me that they give it to newborns because they don’t trust that parents will get it before their kids are sexually active. I’m not going to make medical decisions based ONLY on advice from medical practitioners who don’t trust me to be a responsible parent.

  5. Rosana says:

    So far, thank God, the only thing that makes me want to not vaccinate my kid is how much she cries (my son never more than two seconds literally). However, she has not had any side effect from them and I have the peace of mind that she will do better against those nasty old deseases after been vaccinated.

  6. Laure68 says:

    Just an fyi – HepB can be transmitted by means that are not sexual/direct blood contact. Before the vaccine, around 18,000 infants every year contracted HepB, and only half of them got it from their mother.

    That being said, I know there are some parents who “delay” vaccinations, but still get them a few weeks apart. In this case, they are still getting their vaccinations “on time”. I think the problem is that a lot of parents (even very well-meaning ones) end up not making all of the appointments, and then the shots get more and more delayed. When I think of parents delaying vaccinations, I am thinking of those who delay for much longer periods of time and then end up skipping some because of this.

  7. ChiLaura says:

    Thanks for pointing that out about HepB, Laure68. I know that the chances of my kids getting it are slim, but being in a big city and on public transit a lot — sorry, sweet baby, but you’re getting that shot in the hospital!

  8. Provaccine says:

    Or, God forbid, the baby ends up needing a transfusion, which also carries risk of Hep B. I know someone who got it in his youth and didn’t realize it until his 40s. He could have given it to his wife, who then had children and had no idea that she could be passing it on to her babies. I say just get the shot for your baby. These diseases are much worse than the shots.

  9. [...] perennial hot button parenting issues that are guaranteed to spark controversy: Circumcision, Vaccination, Co-sleeping. Now we can add “Bikinis” to the [...]

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