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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Poll on Vaccines and Autism

Harris Interactive reports
Just a slim majority of Americans -- 52 percent -- think vaccines don't cause autism, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found.

Conversely, 18 percent are convinced that vaccines, like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, can cause the disorder, and another 30 percent aren't sure.

The poll was conducted last week, following news reports that said the lead researcher of a controversial 1998 study linking autism to the MMR vaccine had used fraudulent research to come to his conclusion.

The poll also found that parents who have lingering doubts about the vaccine were less likely to say that their children were fully vaccinated (86 percent), compared to 98 percent of parents who believe in the safety of vaccines. Still, the percentage of fully vaccinated children remains high, at 92 percent, the poll found.

In the new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, 69 percent of respondents said they had heard about the autism-vaccination theory -- but only half (47 percent) knew that the original Lancet study had been retracted, and that some of that research is now alleged to be fraudulent.

The new poll -- an online survey of 2,026 adults carried out Jan. 11-13, 2011 -- was done by Harris Interactive, one of the world's leading custom market research firms, and HealthDay, a leading producer and syndicator of health news.The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available here . HealthDay's news report is available here . Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive .