Monday, February 28, 2011

More Educated Mothers Are Less Likely To Vaccinate

'Reading all these medical journals makes my eyes hurt!' - James, unvaccinated.

A common argument perpetrated by pro-vaccine doctors is that parents don't vaccinate because they don't know anything, they are under-educated, poor and misinformed. However, the opposite is true. Those mothers who have chosen to research the issue and read both sides of the argument in depth, often decide not to vaccinate, or to choose only some vaccines and not others. A study in the journal The American Journal of Public Health, which surveyed 11,860 families, found that mothers who had not finished high school were 16% more likely to have completed the whole vaccination schedule for their children. Lower education levels and socioecomonic status was associated with higher completion rates for vaccination. Rates of compliance were also higher in Hispanic and black low income families. The researchers were puzzled as to why this was and suggested giving more vaccine information to university educated mothers, and they suggested a 'cultural' difference may be to blame. Dr. Kronenfeld, a professor of sociology in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, said '“There is a controversy among more educated mothers about the safety of certain kinds of immunization, That may be part of what is going on here, but we don’t know for sure.” Sources: American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105/AJPH.2005.076661. This article was also referred to in: The New York Times, 16th January 2007.

VAN UK'S Comment:
It is our experience through talking to many thousands of parents since our inception in 1997, that those who have actively chosen not to vaccinate or to selectively vaccinate have done so after many weeks and months of reading journals, books, articles, manufacturer's information, as well as all the information the NHS give out. Parents who don't vaccinate usually know all of the vaccine ingredients, side-effects, and details of the diseases. Those who vaccinate often haven't read anything other than the doctor's leaflet, are extemely fearful of their child dying of deadly diseases and if they have questioned at all, they will have only questioned their doctor or health visitor. Some think that vaccines are mandatory in law and you *have to*. Of course, there is always the exception and some mothers who vaccinate have read extensively on both sides, however, it has been our experience that the more people know, the less they want to vaccinate. We have had dozens of calls from mums who started off vaccinating, then found out that there was aluminium and formaldehyde in the shots and ended up calling us to see how they can 'cleanse' their child of metals and toxins. Many mums have told us they decided to stop half way through the schedule after learning more. In our opinion, those mums who have been lucky enough to have a university education and a well paid job, are in a better position to research vaccinations and know their rights. Education is power and they would possibly be more questioning.

Intention of Parents To Have Male Children Vaccinated With HPV (Cervical Cancer) Vaccine
Another study in the British Medical Journal, discussing whether or not parents would consent to vaccinate their MALE children against cervical cancer, found that: Of the 1381 respondents with male children, 67.8% intend to vaccinate their son(s) against HPV. Parents who had positive attitudes toward vaccines and the HPV vaccine in particular, parents who were influenced by subjective norms , parents who felt that the vaccine had limited influence on sexual behaviour and parents who were aware of HPV were significantly more likely to report an intention to vaccinate boys against HPV. In contrast, residence in British Columbia compared to Atlantic Canada and higher education were negatively associated with intention to vaccinate. Source: Sexually Transmitted Infections 2008;84:318-323, British Medical Journal Publishing Group.
Again, this article states that those with higher education are more likely to refuse HPV vaccine, supporting the earlier study.

Factors associated with uptake of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR)
Another study in the BMJ, authored by David Elliman, also found that higher educated mothers were less likely to vaccinate: Mothers of children receiving no MMR vaccine at all were more likely than those receiving combined MMR vaccine to live in England, have more than 2 children, be either younger or older, be single mothers, be unemployed or self employed, be more highly educated, be a smoker and for the child to be a boy. Mothers of children receiving single vaccines had slightly different characteristics (again, compared with those receiving combine MMR vaccine). They were more likely to live in England, have 1 child only, be older, have a higher income, be not employed, be more highly educated and be white. The authors proposed different strategies for the different target groups. Source: BMJ 2008;336(7647):754-7.
A High Proportion of Mothers of Unvaccinated Infants Are Educated To Degree Level or Above
Overall in the UK, 3.3% of infants were partially immunised and 1.1% were unimmunised; these rates were highest in England (3.6% and 1.3%, respectively; P <>
Mothers Who Vaccinate Don't Know What They're Vaccinating For
More than half of parents wrongly believe that their child has been vaccinated against all strains of meningitis, a poll has revealed. The majority (51%) said they thought their child had had jabs against all strains of the disease and just under a quarter (24%) were unsure. (That's a total of 75% who were mistaken or unsure! - VAN's comment). Meningitis UK commissioned the poll to highlight the disease, which peaks in February. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 62% were unaware there is no vaccination for meningitis B. Steve Dayman, the charity’s chief executive, said: “If a parent wrongly believes their child is protected, they could become complacent and not react quickly enough when the early signs of the disease are developing. “A delay in seeking treatment could be fatal because meningitis can kill in under four hours. Source: Nursing Times, 9 February 2010.

Vaccination efforts are being eroded not by people who are under-educated, but by upper-middle class folks with degrees.
It might seem counterintuitive but it also appears to be true: Parents with more education were less likely to get their daughters vaccinated against HPV during the first year of British Columbia's free school-based program, a new study shows. The finding of the study, published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests vaccination efforts are being eroded not by people who are under-educated, but by upper-middle class folks with degrees. "I think it's the combination of people who are used to making decisions, people who believe they can become experts by reading things on the Internet which would trump what public health officials or academics or doctors are saying," vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit said when asked to comment on the study. "They're used to making choices in their jobs and in their life, one. And two, they make those choices based on information. And the information that one gets here probably is primarily through places like the Internet, which is a source of both good and bad information about vaccines." The study comes on the tail of another published Tuesday which showed that there has been a sharp increase in the percentage of U.S. parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children or delaying vaccination against the advice of the medical community. That study, presented at an international conference in Vancouver, found 39 per cent of parents refused or delayed vaccinations for their children in 2008, up from 22 per cent in 2003. Source: Winnipeg Free Press, 6 May 2010.
A reader's pertinant Comment: They have to be extremely stupid to interpret these results as "surprising". Are they kidding??? Are these people really that dumb??? It is exactly what any person with even a partially functioning brain would expect.
They are "surprised" that better educated parents would be less likely to blindly follow and would, in fact, question the advice of the people who profit from the use of vaccines??? That doesn't say much for the intelligence of the people doing

Many Higher-Income Parents Foregoing Kids' Vaccinations
Vaccination rates for children insured by commercial plans dropped almost four percentage points between 2008 and 2009, even though the rate of children on Medicaid getting vaccinated is rising. "Rates had been gradually improving in the commercial plans. This was the first time we'd seen a drop -- and it was a pretty big drop," said Sarah Thomas, vice president of public policy and communication for the National Committee for Quality Assurance, which recently released its annual State of Health Care Quality report. Although vaccination rates last year were still mostly higher among children in private health plans rather than Medicaid, researchers and other experts suspect that a counterintuitive trend in American demographics is at work: Parents in a relatively high socio-economic bracket -- with more education and relatively high incomes -- forgoing vaccines because of fears about their safety, with poor individuals taking good advantage of their access to free or extremely low-cost care to have their children immunized. "We didn't really explore the reasons [for the trend], but one leading hypothesis is that parents have decided not to get their children vaccinated because of concerns about the potential for side effects and even autism," said Thomas. The authors found a drop in several routine childhood vaccinations. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines decreased from 93.5 percent in 2008 to 90.6 percent in 2009; diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough rates fell from 87.2 percent to 85.4 percent in that one-year period; and the proportion of kids getting vaccinated for chickenpox fell from 92 percent in 2008 to 90.6 percent in 2009. Source: US News Health, 3rd November 2010.

Published with permission.

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