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Most Parents Vaccinate Kids, Trust Docs' Advice on Shots
Date:4/19/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- About 93 percent of parents said their children either had or were going to get all of the recommended vaccinations, and more than three-fourths said they trusted their doctor's advice on immunizations, two new surveys find.

Pediatricians and infectious disease experts say this is good news. After years of hype about a supposed autism/MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) link -- a claim that has been roundly discredited -- it seems parents are heeding the advice of medical experts and protecting their children from potentially devastating diseases.

"It's reassuring that so many parents place a lot of trust in their child's physician, more so than any other source," said study author Dr. Gary Freed, director of the child health evaluation and research unit at University of Michigan.

Yet, there is still cause for concern. About 24 percent of parents surveyed said they place some trust in what celebrities say about vaccines.

One prominent vaccine skeptic is Jenny McCarthy, the American model and actress whose son has autism. McCarthy continues to promote the autism/MMR theory, despite the British Medical Journal retraction of the study that linked the two, according to news reports.

"Celebrities have no expertise in childhood immunizations or infectious disease," Freed said. "There is a danger in the media of putting up celebrities as experts on any topic for which they have an opinion, and giving them a platform to share their opinions that is presented as equal to true experts."

In the first survey, published in the May issue of Pediatrics, researchers used data from a 2009 nationally representative sample of about 1,550 parents of children aged 17 and younger.

About 76 percent of parents said they trusted their child's doctor "a lot," 22 percent said they had "some" trust, while only 2 percent said t
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