A large database of patient information was developed by a number of private managed care organizations, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). It is called the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). This database contains vaccination histories and outcomes for over 6.5 million patients from the eight health organizations who participated in providing information. Researchers have used the huge database to study health problems and public attitudes associated with people taking vaccines.
Social Trends and Vaccine Acceptance
There are current social trends and policy decisions that have provided many parents with mixed messages when it comes to vaccinations. There has been a decrease in public health campaigns that focus on diseases that can be prevented with a vaccine. The public has been subjected to many campaigns designed to inform individuals about obtaining vaccination exceptions for religious or philosophical reasons. Many researchers believe that vaccines have been harmed by their success. Most young parents in the United States have not seen the serious effects caused by diseases such as influenza meningitis, polio, rubella and others.
It is believed the current social trends and policy decisions have led increasing numbers of parents to believe that vaccinations pose a risk. However, much of the current research does not support this stance. Researchers believe this could be a dangerous assumption. There has been an increase in vaccine-preventable illnesses. Western Europe has been dealing with a measles outbreak for many years. The recent rise in measles in the United States is believed to have been caused by unvaccinated U.S. citizens. European and American panic caused by vaccines seems to feed one another. With the use of the Internet, these fears have grown to a global level.
A study was conducted to determine if the California measles outbreak influenced parent’s beliefs about vaccines. Since the outbreak, research results show that medical providers in the west and northwest areas of the United States experienced an increase in the number of parents who accepted measles vaccines by over 45 percent. It also led to an increase in the general acceptance of all vaccines by more than 50 percent of parents. This is consistent with the trend occurring around the country. This has resulted in fewer parents in the United States asking for alternate spacing or delayed use of vaccines.
Many pediatric family practices have to deal with parents who refuse to have their children immunized. A survey was performed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to the results, 70 percent of pediatricians experience parents who have refused to have their child immunized during the previous year. This is known as vaccine hesitancy. It is considered a situation where a parent will delay or refuse vaccinations for their children, even when vaccination services are made available. These are parents who are not influenced by recent statistics concerning a vaccine’s safety. Many of these parents are not persuaded by upsetting stories of children who were not vaccinated and developed a preventable disease.
In the United States, the number of children getting the required vaccinations remains strong. The recent rise in the number of parents who refuse or delay their children’s immunization has caused an increase in the number of children having preventable diseases. Changing this situation will require leaders to provide important evidence-based information concerning the importance of vaccinations. Experts agree that a foundation of effective communication by health agencies is essential. This will decrease the pressure on clinical practices when it comes to dealing with providing important pediatric care in these situations. It will make pediatric practices less liable for what can occur from treating unvaccinated children.
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