More than a third of parents oppose vaccination requirements in schools, KFF survey finds



CNN

More than a third of American parents say vaccinating children against measles, mumps and rubella should be an individual choice and not a requirement to attend public school, even though it may create health risks, according to survey data released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

This is a notable increase from the pre-pandemic period. A similar Pew Research Center poll found that 23% of parents opposed vaccination requirements in schools in 2019, but that figure has now risen to 35% in the KFF survey.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require children attending public school to be immunized against certain diseases, including measles and rubella. Exceptions are only allowed in certain circumstances.

In central Ohio, a measles outbreak that began last month continues to spread, spreading entirely among children who weren’t fully immunized.

As of Thursday, 77 children had a confirmed case of measles, and more than a third of them were hospitalized, according to data from Columbus Public Health. The vast majority of children were not vaccinated against measles at all and four had received half of the recommended two-dose series.

“What is really driving this, unfortunately, is the lack of vaccination, which is just heartbreaking,” Dr. Nora Colburn, an adult infectious disease physician at the medical center, said this month. . Wexner from Ohio State University in Columbus.

About 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed to measles will become infected, according to Columbus Public Health, and about 1 in 5 people in the United States who get measles will be hospitalized.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when most people stayed home and some health facilities were closed, many children missed their routine vaccinations, including the MMR vaccine – and they didn’t. have not done. may not have received all the recommended vaccines yet. This is true all over the world as well as in the United States.

“Measles is such a contagious disease that when you see these drops [in vaccine coverage]we’re really concerned about the potential for large outbreaks,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases and professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the College of Medicine. University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital of Colorado. . “You really need to maintain high vaccination coverage to prevent measles from spreading. »

While the KFF survey shows skepticism around Covid-19 vaccines has grown, belief in the value of vaccines for children has changed little: around 85% of adults in the new survey say the benefits of vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella outweigh their risk, down just 3 percentage points from 2019.

But support for demands for those vaccines has plummeted, especially among Republicans. The share of Republicans who say parents should be able to opt out of these childhood vaccines has doubled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, from 20% in 2019 to 44% today. Among Democrats, however, support for vaccine requirements in public schools has remained consistently above 85%.

The last survey of KFF’s ongoing COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor project was conducted from November 29 to December 8.

Correction: A line in an earlier version of this story incorrectly described the vaccination status of children diagnosed with measles in Ohio.

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