Half full, half empty.
Vaccinations are common requirements for children all over the country in order to attend public school and college. However, half of American adults (52%) say they are concerned about the safety of vaccinations for children, including 27% who are Very Concerned.
Nearly one-out-of-three adults with children under 18 (32%) is Very Concerned about vaccine safety.
Yowsa! At first glance, this looks like a Big Deal. Over half of American adults are concerned about vaccine safety and about a third who have minor children are Very Concerned. Clearly, this shows a dramatic loss of faith in the vaccination program. Obviously, the sky is about to fall, civilization is going to collapse, dogs and cats will be living together- mass hysteria! Yeah, not so much and, as a sociologist, I'm not surprised. You see, there's a bit of a difference between questions about attitudes and questions about behaviors:
Still, 92% of those with children under 18 say their child has received all the vaccinations he or she is supposed to have.
While they are concerned about the safety of the vaccines themselves, adults are more worried about the consequences of not vaccinating children. Seventy-six percent (76%) say they are concerned that unvaccinated children will cause health problems for other children.
So, things aren't as bad as they might seem at first. Sure, people are asking questions about vaccines- due in no small part to the sort of crazy nonsense that is polluting bookshelves lately- but the fact is that most people still trust vaccines more than the nonsense, and most people are still getting them. That's good news. Obviously, effort needs to be made to reassure parents and the public in general that they're doing the right thing by sticking with vaccines but, by and large, this report is more good news than bad.
* Wisdom of the crowds devotes might respond that if a lot of people question vaccines then it's likely that vaccines should be questioned. Sadly, Heiko Rauhut is doing some interesting work that suggests that crowds are only "wise" under a limited subset of conditions, and are utter morons otherwise.