Gallup: Fewer Americans Say Vaccinating Children is Important

Michael W. Chapman | January 14, 2020 | 4:41pm EST
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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

( -- A new survey shows that while 84% of Americans believe it is important for parents to vaccinate their children, this is down from 94% who felt that way in 2001. 

In addition, while 45% of Americans think vaccines do not cause autism, 46% are unsure and 10% say yes, vaccines do cause autism. 

During Dec. 2-15, 2019, Gallup asked a random sample of 1,025 adults living in all 50 states the following, "How important is it that parents get their children vaccinated -- extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not very important or not at all important? % Extremely/Very important?"


For 84% of all Americans, they said it was "extremely or very important," reported Gallup. However, that percentage is down from 2001, said Gallup, when 94% of all Americans said it was extremely/very important that parents vaccinate their children.

"The decline in Americans' belief in the importance of vaccinating children between 2001 and 2015 occurred among almost all subgroups of the U.S. public," said the survey firm.  "Since then, attitudes have been fairly flat by gender, age, education and party ID."

"The only group that has maintained its 2001 level of support for vaccines is highly educated Americans, those with postgraduate degrees," reported Gallup.  "Ninety percent of this group says vaccination is important, essentially unchanged from the 92% in 2015 and 2001. Perceptions of the importance of vaccination declined by at least five percentage points among all other education subgroups."

Curiously, Gallup further reported that while "the vast majority of Americans see vaccines as less dangerous than the diseases they prevent, fewer, 62%, say the government should require all parents to have their children vaccinated."


"This is down from the 81% who said the government should require vaccination in a 1991 Princeton Survey Research Poll," reported the polling firm.

In the survey, Gallup also asked, "From what you have read or heard, do you personally think certain vaccines do -- or do not -- cause autism in children, or are you unsure?"

Forty-five percent of all Americans said "no," vaccines do not cause autism. However, 46% said they were "unsure" and 10% said "yes," certain vaccines do cause autism.

"Pro-vaccine public awareness campaigns appear to be working to the extent that more Americans -- now a majority for the first time -- report having heard a lot about the medical advantages of vaccines for children," said Gallup.  

"However, more have also heard about the disadvantages," reported the polling firm.  "While they are not as pervasive and are being exposed as untrue, these counterarguments are still getting through, perhaps explaining why public support for vaccines remains lower than at the start of this century."

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