Parents using 'alternative' vaccination, study finds

Oct 06, 2011

Skipping vaccinations could be dangerous for children, a study says.

Based on findings in a new U.S. survey, researchers are worried that parents may be refusing vaccinations in the future, raising the risk that diseases like measles and whooping cough will spread in communities. Life insurance claims could see an increase if any of these diseases become widespread.

The study found that more than one in 10 parents use an "alternative" vaccination schedule for their young children, some of which refuse vaccines all together.

"The vaccines that we recommend have been so effective in largely eliminating the vaccine-preventable diseases that most parents don't have first, second or even third-hand experience with these diseases," Dr. Amanda Dempsey, one of the authors of a new report based on the survey from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told Reuters. He said vaccines can be helpful ways to prevent sickness, as none of the treated diseases are "completely eradicated."

The study said 53 percent refused certain vaccinations and 55 percent delayed the vaccinations until the child was older. Only 17 percent reported refusing all vaccines. About 28 percent thought delaying vaccine doses was safer than the schedule they used and 22 percent didn't think the best vaccination schedule to follow was the one laid out by experts. 

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