While many parents remain unwilling to have their children vaccinated for the human papilloma virus (HPV), overall there is a rise in the number of parents who agree to have their children receive vaccinations, according to the "2016 Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report."
Nearly 50 percent of the clinicians surveyed say parents are more accepting of all types of vaccines, whereas only 12 percent report less acceptance for vaccines this year than in 2015.
“Despite changes in policy, the availability of information and significantly greater awareness about the risks associated with vaccine refusal, the modest increase in acceptance we saw this year suggests that work still needs to be done to improve vaccination acceptance,” said Hansa Bhargava, M.D., pediatric editor for Medscape and WebMD, in an announcement.
“While there is no one solution, she said, it’s important that clinicians pro-actively address parental concerns while educating their patients about the fact that vaccines not only help keep their family safe, but they also protect others by making diseases less likely to spread.”
There is still resistance by many parents to have their children receive the HPV vaccine, the survey found. Sixty-one percent of clinicians reported that this was the most frequently refused or delayed vaccination. The reasons clinicians cited were a parents' lack of concern about the risk of their child conracting a sexually tranmitted disease (71 percent) or the belief that the vaccine promotes sexual activity (46 percent).
Other vaccinations typically refused or delayed include influenza (39 percent) and MMR (37 percent). The good news is parents’ acceptance of the MMR vaccine increased by 15 points since last year.
Other findings from the report include:
Strategies for encouraging vaccine uptake can help. Sixty-three percent of clinicians reported the value of providing evidence-based responses to parents’ concerns, while 52 percent said telling parents that you do or would vaccinate your own children on the recommended schedule helps. Forty-eight percent said giving parents information about the potential morbidity or mortality associated with a particular vaccine-preventable disease can help.
Reasons for increased acceptance of vaccines are varied. Seventy-two percent of clinicians reported that more general concern about infectious diseases was the top reason parents have their children vaccinated. Other top reasons include fears associated with child getting a disease that could be prevented by a vaccine (53 percent) and denied admission to school/day care/camp (44 percent).
Reasons for less acceptance of vaccines also continue. Despite parents’ increased willingness to have their children vaccinated, the number one reason for not doing so was fear of a connection to autism spectrum; 77 percent of clinicians chose this as a reason for the families they treat. Concerns about additional ingredients in vaccines (at 71 percent) and worries about children suffering other complications from the vaccine (at 70 percent) also rose to the top. Of note, 56 percent of parents were worried about “overwhelming” their infant child’s immune system.
The survey included responses from more than 1,500 pediatricians, public health physicians, family medicine physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians.