Parental vaccine concerns in Kentucky.
BACKGROUND: An increasing number of parents are questioning the safety and necessity of routine childhood immunizations. Locally produced vaccine risk communication materials may be effective in reassuring these parents. However, little is known about specific vaccine safety concerns in the state of Kentucky. METHODS: An Internet-based survey focusing on parental vaccine safety concerns and potential vaccine risk communication strategies was sent to all members of the Kentucky Chapter of the Amerian Academy of Pediatrics. RESULTS: There were 121 respondents who routinely administered childhood vaccines. Of these, 85% reported parental concern about the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Concerns about the influenza and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines were also frequent. Of the respondents, 46% noted parental skepticism about all vaccines in general. However, refusal of all vaccines was uncommon in most practices (median 1%, interquartile range 1%-3%). The belief that vaccines cause autism was the most prevalent parental concern, reported by 70% of pediatricians. Physicians also reported that a list of reliable vaccine information Websites and pamphlets addressing common vaccine safety concerns would be the most helpful materials to use during their discussions with concerned parents. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that specific information about the MMR, influenza, and HPV vaccines, as well as data refuting the putative link between vaccines and autism would be useful to physicians who administer vaccinations. Respondents were especially interested in reliable vaccine information on the Internet. The Websites listed below offer accurate scientific information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
Smith, MJ; Woods, CR; Marshall, GS
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