Parents who said their kids would not get all the recommended vaccinations were likely to think too many vaccines are given in the first two years of life or that vaccines can cause learning difficulties, especially autism. The autism theory has been widely refuted.
One in three parents added that they are not satisfied with the information they get from their children's doctor about the safety and necessity of vaccines.
Much of the information parents get about vaccines comes from their doctor or friends, Kennedy said. One-quarter said they took their information from the Internet, twice the number seen in a different survey in 2009, the researchers pointed out.
Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is concerned -- but not surprised -- that resistance to vaccination still exists.
Offit, an outspoken advocate of vaccination, said the movement against vaccinations has resulted in outbreaks of diseases all but unheard of just a few years ago.
"I try to reassure parents with the science," he said. And he tells them that a decision against vaccination is not risk-free. "It's a choice to take a different and more serious risk," he explained.
"We are seeing outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough to degrees we haven't seen in the previous 10 years. It's a dangerous and, frankly, a misinformed choice not to get a vaccine," he said.
Before vaccines, whooping cough killed 8,000 children in the United States annually, diphtheria was a common cause of death among young people, and polio caused tens of thousands of cases of paralysis, he pointed out. Measles resulted in 3,000 to 5,000 deaths, Offit said.
Even though the data linking vaccines to autism has been discredited, some
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