A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) revealed that 45 percent of Americans have doubts about vaccination. The survey, which was given to more than 2,000 adults, asked two questions. Respondents were asked questions about their views on vaccination and, if they had concerns, what kind of information caused them to have doubts.1
The results showed that two out of five people said that something they read or heard influenced them to question vaccine safety and effectiveness. The top three sources that made respondents question vaccine safety were online articles (16 percent), past secrets/wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry (16 percent) and information from medical experts. Other factors that caused respondents to have concerns about vaccinations included social media content, personal experience, information from family members and religious beliefs.1
When asked to describe their views on vaccine safety, 55 percent of respondents believed that vaccines are safe and effective, two percent said they felt vaccines were unsafe and ineffective, six percent said they felt the risks of side effects outweighed the potential benefits of vaccines and nine percent said they were unsure if vaccines were safe and effective.1
According to a press release issued by the AOA, physicians say those small margins can cause significant damage to public health if the doubts result in more unvaccinated people.1
Gallup also reported recently that a Wellcome Global Monitor survey published by the Wellcome Trust, of the United Kingdom, on attitudes toward science and health “reveals pockets of doubt about the safety, effectiveness and importance of vaccines in some parts of the world.”2 According to the survey, worldwide, nearly eight in 10 people (79 percent) who have heard of vaccines say they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that vaccines are safe.
In the U.S., 72 percent strongly or somewhat agree vaccines are safe, with 28 percent of Americans disagreeing that vaccines are safe. U.S. parents are less likely to strongly agree that vaccines are safe than are adults who do not have children—60 percent versus 78 percent respectively.
1 AOA Media Team. 45% of American adults doubt vaccine safety, according to survey. Osteopathic.com June 24, 2019.
2 Rzepa A., Ray J. Is There an Outbreak of Doubt About Vaccines in the U.S.? Gallup June 26, 2019.