After years of record outbreaks, more parents are listening to their doctor’s advice to vaccinate their kids.
One-quarter more parents believe vaccines are safe compared to a year ago, according to a University of Michigan poll released Monday. More also support school and daycare entry requirements.
“Over the last year there have been high-profile news stories about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough. These news reports may be influencing how parents perceive childhood vaccines across the country,” said Matthew Davis, director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and a professor at University of Michigan Medical School, in a statement.
About 7 percent of parents said they believed vaccines to be less safe compared to last year.
Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of the nation’s toughest vaccination laws, following an outbreak of measles in Disneyland that infected more than 100 people, most of them unvaccinated.
Whooping cough (pertussis) infected more than 28,000 Americans in 2014, a six-fold increase over 20 years.
While 95 percent of children are vaccinated by kindergarten, parents who question vaccinations are a vocal group. In Colorado, vaccination rates are as low as 80 percent.
“Outbreaks of disease can safely be prevented through childhood vaccination,” Davis said. “But there are deeply-held convictions about parents’ autonomy and remaining concerns among some parents about vaccine safety.”
Vaccines saved more than 720,000 children in the U.S. throughout the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.