Saturday, 1 October, 2011 11:34 AM
Reuters-NPR Health Poll Finds One in Four Americans Believe Vaccines
over Links to Autism Persists
credit: Thomson Reuters-NPR
first page of the Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll about
Vaccines, September 2011.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
and WASHINGTON -- More than one-quarter of Americans are
concerned about the value and safety of vaccines and 21.4 percent
believe vaccines can cause autism, according to the Thomson Reuters-NPR
Thomson Reuters and NPR conduct the monthly poll to gauge attitudes
and opinions on a wide range of health issues.
In the latest survey
in the series, 26.6 percent of respondents expressed concern over
the safety of vaccines. Households with children under the age of
18 demonstrated the greatest level of concern (30.8%). The lowest
level of concern (18.5%) was found in respondents 65 years old and
Among those with concerns,
47.3 percent attributed their fear of vaccines to future long-term
impact on health and 46.0 percent said they were worried about side
Nearly one in five said
they have questioned or refused a vaccine for themselves or their
children -- with a higher rate among those under 35 (28.1 percent)
and a lower rate among those 65 and older (12.7 percent).
When asked about specific
safety concerns, 21.4 percent of respondents said they believe vaccines
can cause of autism, 9.2 percent said they believe vaccines can
be linked to cancer, 6.9 percent believe they play a role in diabetes,
and 5.9 percent cite a connection between vaccines and heart disease.
Overall, 24 percent of
respondents said their opinions of vaccines have changed in the
past five years. Of those, 59 percent say their views on vaccines
have become less favorable.
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, M.D., 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. visit http://healthcare.thomsonreuters.com/npr/assets/NPR_report_vaccines.pdf
To date, the Thomson
Reuters-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous healthcare topics,
including generic drugs, abortion, vaccines, food allergies, and
organic and genetically modified foods. NPR's reports on the surveys
are archived online at the Shots health blog here: http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=137038712&ps=sh_sttag
Thomson Reuters maintains
a library of poll results: http://healthcare.thomsonreuters.com/npr/
The Thomson Reuters-NPR
Health Poll is powered by the Thomson Reuters PULSE(SM) Healthcare
Survey, an independently funded, nationally representative telephone
poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and
attitudes and healthcare utilization from more than 100,000 US households
annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR.
The figures in this month's poll are based on 3,011 participants
interviewed from August 1-16, 2011. The margin of error is 1.8 percent.
Thomson Reuters is the
world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses
and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative
technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers
in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science
and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization.
With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and
Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 55,000 people
and operates in over 100 countries. For more information, go to
NPR is an award-winning,
multimedia news organization and an influential force in American
life. In collaboration with more than 900 independent public radio
stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public
- one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation
of events, ideas and cultures.
Source: Thomson Reuters
credit: Thomson Reuters-NPR
sample question from the report.