Data Suggests Parents No Longer Trust Doctors, Even For Preventatives

By Brian Scheid | Published

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Since we have reached the end of the pandemic, many adults are debating the validity of vaccinations for Covid-19 and the rights of parents regarding all childhood vaccinations. Many adults are examining our overall views on vaccination and whether it is truly in the best interest of their children.  A new poll that was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows a dramatic increase in the number of parents that are in opposition to current rules regarding mandatory vaccination for children to attend public schools in all 50 states, even when doctors recommend them.

The survey showed that 35% of parents were in favor of being able to say no to vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella which was up from 23% three years ago prior to the Covid-19 pandemic – all common vaccines that have been recommended by doctors for decades. The survey also shows that 28% of adults nationwide are in favor of parents having a choice in whether to vaccinate their children for those illnesses. 

The major talking point around this argument is how it affects parents’ rights to choose one way or another what they believe is best for their children. According to US News,” Dr. Sean O’Leary, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases, told the New York Times, “And when you frame it that simply, it’s very appealing to a certain segment of the population. But what about the right to have your children be safe in school from vaccine-preventable diseases?”

The survey that the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted was either filled out online or by phone, with 1,200 people participating between November 29th and December 8th this year as part of its COVID Vaccine Monitor program. The most glaring observation is that there is an obvious correlation between people’s opinion on this topic and their political affiliation.

The survey shows that 4 out of 10 respondents that identify as Republican or Republican-leaning independents oppose public school vaccination requirements which is double the prior survey results from 2019. On the other side of the political spectrum, respondents that identify as Democrats support the school vaccination mandates at an 88% rate which is up 2% from the prior survey. Both sides of the spectrum are moving even further apart in their views of this topic.

US News also reported, “About 85% of the public overall and 80% of parents said the benefits of MMR shots outweigh the risks. Even among respondents who said they were not vaccinated for COVID-19, about 70% said the benefits of childhood vaccines outweighed the risks.” When they looked at people that had been vaccinated and received boosters, only 22% of them had gone for the latest bivalent booster, which became available in September.  This booster will protect you from the original strain and some of the more contagious variants.

Some of the reasons given by vaccinated adults that are skeptical about getting it include, that 44% don’t think they need it, 37% say they don’t think the benefits are worth it, and 36% that they were just too busy.  Some other reasons given for not getting the bivalent booster were 23% previous bad side effects, 17% waiting to see case data in their area, and 12% waiting until they travel.

The commonality is that even though people have different reasons for not going back for another booster varies. What is obvious is that people have stopped going back in larger numbers than we were seeing during the height of the pandemic.

Out of the respondents in this survey, Republicans said that they don’t need the vaccine at 64% clip. Democrats were using the excuse that they were too busy to get the booster at a 51% rate.

Parental hesitation to the bivalent booster for their kids responded with 16% site their 12 to 17-year-olds have had prior shots, and 14% have gotten the booster for their 5 to 11-year-olds. This is all despite the fact that doctors are still recommending boosters to parents and children alike.

As this partisan disagreement continues to be a hot-button topic all around our nation and with the congressional majority shift from Democrat to Republican occurring at the start of 2023. We will see if lawmakers bring this topic up for debate for their constituents in the House and the Senate to examine the current laws that are on the books regarding mandatory vaccination for children in public schools.