Why parents are concerned about vaccines for some kids, but not others

Parents of Canadian children are becoming increasingly worried about the possible risks of certain childhood vaccines, but the government’s new campaign has done little to address the concerns, according to a new survey. The…

Why parents are concerned about vaccines for some kids, but not others

Parents of Canadian children are becoming increasingly worried about the possible risks of certain childhood vaccines, but the government’s new campaign has done little to address the concerns, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by an Ottawa-based public opinion research firm called Environics Analytics, found that, on average, two-thirds of parents surveyed said they were “certain or somewhat likely” to get their kids vaccinated against seasonal influenza or chickenpox.

But that figure dropped by about 10 percentage points when it came to parents who had children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, infectious diseases or restricted immunization schedules, the study found.

In a statement, the polling firm suggested that more outreach to parents around vaccines, particularly among the most vulnerable groups, could help mitigate the sometimes-heightened fears about potential harm that often precede a young child’s vaccination.

“If any media outlets learn of a concern on the part of a parent, it is encouraging to see they are more open to sharing information and they are seeking advice and support to ensure their family is prepared,” said Gerry Predy, president of Environics Analytics.

The survey, which was conducted in early June, polled more than 2,000 parents of children between the ages of 2 and 17. It also found that one-third of parents surveyed thought the decision about whether to get their child vaccinated “should be entirely up to parents,” a sentiment that was especially high in the Quebec region and “insufficient” in Ontario.

The Canadian government is currently planning to create a new online vaccine confirmation system, called VAPIVIS, which will allow parents of children who have not been vaccinated to fill out a form to see if their child’s vaccine status has changed. The program, which is expected to roll out in late 2019, aims to prevent children from delaying their vaccinations until they are more sick, despite health officials’ concern that children will miss additional doses and expose them to disease in the future.

Some parents have already expressed skepticism about the new system, however, saying they fear that people who “don’t vaccinate their kids” will have an easier time than those who fully vaccinate.

The poll was a collaboration between Environics Analytics and the Pew Research Center. The companies declined to release the data behind the survey, citing its commercial integrity.

Leave a Comment