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Monday, October 3, 2011

Poll on Vaccines and Autism

Earlier this year, a Harris Interactive poll found that about a fifth of Americans think that vaccines cause autism. A new survey has reached a similar finding, according to a release from Thomson Reuters:

More than one-quarter of Americans are concerned about the value and safety of vaccines and 21.4 percent believe vaccines can cause autism, according to the Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll.

Thomson Reuters and NPR conduct the monthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

In the latest survey in the series, 26.6 percent of respondents expressed concern over the safety of vaccines. Households with children under the age of 18 demonstrated the greatest level of concern (30.8%). The lowest level of concern (18.5%) was found in respondents 65 years old and up.

Among those with concerns, 47.3 percent attributed their fear of vaccines to future long-term impact on health and 46.0 percent said they were worried about side effects.

Nearly one in five said they have questioned or refused a vaccine for themselves or their children — with a higher rate among those under 35 (28.1 percent) and a lower rate among those 65 and older (12.7 percent).

When asked about specific safety concerns, 21.4 percent of respondents said they believe vaccines can cause of autism, 9.2 percent said they believe vaccines can be linked to cancer, 6.9 percent believe they play a role in diabetes, and 5.9 percent cite a connection between vaccines and heart disease.

Overall, 24 percent of respondents said their opinions of vaccines have changed in the past five years. Of those, 59 percent say their views on vaccines have become less favorable.


For a copy of the vaccine survey results. visit


Thomson Reuters maintains a library of poll results: