Angus Reid poll shows more parents ‘really against’ vaccinating their kids

angus reid poll shows more parents ‘really against’ vaccinating their kids

Poll results from the Angus Reid Institute show waning support for mandatory child vaccination.

Poll results from the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) show waning support for mandatory child vaccination.

It reports 17 per cent of parents are “‘really against’ vaccinating their kids,” which is four times higher than in 2019 — just before the pandemic. However, 75 per cent of Canadians believe opposing childhood vaccination is irresponsible, with 71 per cent saying it will lead to unnecessary illness.

Sixty-seven per cent say they would vaccinate their child without reservation.

“(Parents) want to do what’s best for their kids,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association. “They care about their kids’ health, and they’re trying to make the best decisions they can. But when they’re surrounded by information that’s not true, but sounds really scary, it’s really hard to make those informed decisions.”

Reimer said an outbreak of measles in Europe points to the importance and significance of vaccination.

“(This is) exactly what we were so scared about when misinformation started to become so prevalent, especially on social media, because we know that the vaccine against measles is 97 per cent effective when you get two doses,” she said.

“Measles is also incredibly infectious. Nine out of 10 unvaccinated people will get infected if they’re exposed to the measles virus, and the outcomes are not benign,” she said, noting that brain tissues can swell, and some in Europe have even died.

A provincial spokesperson with the government of Manitoba said the last confirmed measles case in the province was in 2019.

“Manitoba is prepared in the event a suspected case of measles identified within the province and has dealt with cases in recent years,” they said. “Measles is a reportable disease and has protocols and processes in place in order to rapidly respond in the event a case is identified.”

Reimer said when it comes to vaccines, there’s always a risk. But that needs to be weighed against reward.

“Everything that we do in medicine has risks. Every naturopathic treatment you take has risks. You know, every time you get into a car there’s risks. It’s really important that we think about the risks and the benefits of, not only the intervention, but also the risks and benefits of not doing something.

“So when you get a vaccine, there’s always a possibility you could be that one in a million person who has a bad outcome, but it’s much more likely you’ll be part of the 999,999 people who don’t,” she said.

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ARI said it created the Vaccine Acceptance Index to better understand why some are all-in for vaccines, and others aren’t. It said 34 per cent of people fall into the “vax proponents” category. These are people who are largely supportive of vaccinations but have some reservation, the institute said.

Pulling up second is the 29 per cent of Canadians who are “max vaxxers,” and feel vaccines are very effective, support mandatory child vaccination, and aren’t worried about significant side effects.

Those who are skeptical of vaccines but not dismissive, or “vax skeptics,” poll at 24 per cent, and anti-vaxxers come out at 14 per cent.

The institute says 1,626 random Canadians were polled, with a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

While there are a growing number of people worried about the vaccine, Reimer said, “I think for most people, it might just be finding the time to go get those vaccines done.

“I really want to encourage people (that) what we’re seeing in Europe is really concerning, and we don’t want that to come to Canada.

“So, if you just haven’t had a chance to bring your kids in to get caught up on their vaccines, now would be a really great time to do that.”

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