Harris Interactive poll sponsored by Center for Personal Rights says majority of parents want vaccination choice

June 14, 2010

A new Harris Interactive poll shows a majority of American parents believe they, rather than the government, should have the final say in which vaccines their children receive.

A new Harris Interactive poll shows a majority of American parents believe they, rather than the government, should have the final say in which vaccines their children receive.

The poll, commissioned by the Center for Personal Rights, queried a representative sample of American parents about vaccination. The survey was conducted online in May within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Center for Personal Rights, Inc., among 1,144 parents of children age 17 years or younger.

Poll results indicate a majority of American parents, 52%, believe that "parents should have the right to decide which vaccines their children receive without government mandates."

Such results may stem from recent media reports, which have since been discredited, that vaccines do more harm than good, may cause autism, or are no longer necessary for certain diseases.

“In one warning after another, vaccine opponents often exaggerate or even make up immunization risks, with no scientific evidence to support their claims,” according to a statement on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. “They may imply that vaccines aren’t effective. At the same time, they downplay or don’t discuss the serious diseases that vaccines can eliminate or reduce in frequency. No wonder some parents are left feeling anxious and, in some cases, keep their youngster unvaccinated at the risk of their child’s health.”

But those assurances may be falling on deaf ears. Other results from the Center for Personal Rights, Inc. research include:

  • Fifty-four percent of parents are "concerned that the pharmaceutical industry has undue influence over government vaccine mandates."

  • Fifty-four percent agree that "the government should fund an independent scientific study of fully vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals to assess long-term health outcomes."

  • Forty-eight percent of parents are "concerned about serious adverse effects of vaccines." This poll answer on adverse events is slightly less than the number found in a recent study published in Pediatrics magazine that found that 54% of parents are concerned about serious adverse effects.

  • Forty-two percent of parents agree that "all children should receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines before age 18, as recommended by the federal government."

  • Older parents, aged 35 and above (57%), are significantly more likely than their younger peers (47%) to agree that the pharmaceutical industry has undue influence on vaccine mandates.