Americans concerned over value, safety of vaccines, poll finds

ANN ARBOR, Mich. and WASHINGTON — In the latest poll conducted by Thomson Reuters and NPR, it seems that some Americans are concerned with the safety of vaccine use.

According to the new research, which polled more than 100,000 households between Aug. 1 and 16, 24% of respondents said their opinions of vaccines have changed in the past five years and among them, 59% said their views on vaccines have become less favorable. What's more, 26.6% of respondents expressed apprehensiveness over the safety of vaccines. The highest level of worry was expressed among respondents with children under 18 years old (30.8%), while those ages 65 years and older had the least concern (18.5%).

When it comes to what prompted their vaccine fears, 47.3% said their worry stemmed from concern that vaccines would impact their long-term health, while 46% said they are worried about side effects. Additionally, 21.4% of those surveyed believed vaccines can cause autism, 9.2% believed vaccines can be linked to cancer, 6.9% believed they play a role in diabetes, while 5.9% cited a connection between vaccines and heart disease.

"Ironically, these survey results are a testament to the effectiveness of vaccines: older people remember what illnesses like polio did to cripple and kill patients, but the younger generation has never seen someone with polio," said Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. "Because of the elimination of diseases through immunization, there is a lack of understanding that the benefit of vaccines greatly outweighs the minimal risks of side effects both short and long term."

For a copy of the vaccine survey results, click here.

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