Poll: Anti-Vaccine Movement Affects Parent Daycare Choices


With a slight boost in the number of children starting their school year with all the recommended vaccinations, a national poll by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan revealed that a large number of parents took into account the vaccination status of other children when enrolling their own in day care centers.

The vast majority of parents, over 80 percent, who took the survey “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that every child in day care centers should be vaccinated. About 75 percent required that day care runners should annually review the immunization status of each child. Only 1 out of 10 parents supported admission of a child without vaccines into day care regardless of a waiver. The poll questioned parents with children up to 5 years old, writes Dan Mangan of CNBC.

The report highlighted how parents were clearly worried about the chances of their children getting infected from another child in the same centre, writes Sam P.K Collins of Think Progress.

“The take-home message from this poll is that, when choosing a daycare for their child, parents should feel comfortable asking about the vaccination policies, such as whether the daycare excludes children who are not up-to-date, and whether they check children’s vaccination status every year,”

The poll reflects a state study which showed the slight decline of the anti-vaccine movement in states such as California where the movement has continued over ten years. The decline (from 3.2% to 2.5%) is mainly due to the state law passed this year requiring most parents to seek professional medical advice before opting for “personal belief exemption”. Most of these parents prevent their children from being vaccinated due to medical reasons, religious beliefs or even “philosophical objections”.

The authors of the poll concluded that there was a steady decrease in the anti-vaccination support, mainly due to the reach of accurate information regarding the effectiveness of vaccines. With recent outbreaks of whooping cough and measles bringing vaccines to the attention of more parents, the movement which is fuelled mostly by discredited studies and non-medical celebrities, such as Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider, seems to have lost steam.

Review of the government’s immunization schedule by the Institute of medicine has deemed childhood vaccinations both safe and effective, prompting some retaliation against the small populace of “anti-vaxxers”. Vaccines were reported to protect babies up to 5 years of age from 14 common childhood diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that proper immunization has prevented nearly 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born between 1994 and 2013.

Being a parent herself, associate director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Sarah Clark was surprised with the results of the poll. She has also determined that day care providers could obtain some financial benefits by keeping all children updated with their vaccinations.

“That might be a good business decision by day cares, to assure parents that they are providers who are looking out for their kids’ health and safety.”

Some states such as Colorado have even defended vaccination schemes by passing legislation aimed at educating parents about the risks of not vaccinating their children; calling it not an impediment of rights, but an assurance that parents were well informed regarding their decisions.

Sponsor of the legislation Colorado Rep. Dan Pabon stated that the vaccinations were not intent on changing individual beliefs.

“This is not mandatory vaccinations; this is not a change to personal belief exemption. This is simply saying, ‘If you exercise this option, you will get some disclosures about the risks and benefits.’”