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South Nassau Communities Hospital Truth in Medicine Poll Finds Many Parents Remain Unclear About Safety of Vaccines

South Nassau Communities Hospital's Truth in Medicineā„¢ Poll found that while over 90% of area parents say they have had their children vaccinated, almost 40% are unsure or believe that vaccines can potentially cause autism.

Oceanside, NY, September 14, 2017 --( South Nassau Communities Hospital's latest Truth in Medicine Poll found that some parents remain uncertain about the safety of vaccines and some mistakenly believe there is a link between autism and getting their children vaccinated, despite overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of vaccinations in the fight against the spread of deadly childhood diseases.

While over 90% of area parents say they have had their children vaccinated, almost 40% are unsure or believe that vaccines can potentially cause autism, according to the poll of metro area residents. Meanwhile, almost 30% of the respondents believe children who are unvaccinated should be allowed to attend school.

Attitudes regarding autism and social interactions with those who have not been vaccinated varied by age, gender and racial lines, the poll showed.

The South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, surveyed 600 residents of Long Island and New York City as part of South Nassau’s effort to gather data about public attitudes on key public health topics and help spur public education to improve health. This is the third South Nassau poll this year. Two earlier polls gauged public attitudes about going to work with the flu and about the dangers of antibiotic overuse.

The vaccine poll results show:
· 88% believe vaccines are safe, necessary and effective
· 10 % believe vaccines can cause autism, and almost 30% more say they are not sure
· Among those who believe in, or are uncertain about, a link between vaccines and autism, only 73% say vaccines are “safe,” 74% say they are “necessary,” and 74% say they are “effective”
· Some 32 percent of respondents said that pediatricians should be allowed to refuse to see patients who have not been vaccinated.

Parental refusal of vaccinations remains a growing concern across the country and around the world. The CDC and every other major infectious diseases, internal medicine and Pediatric Society all strongly encourage and recommend the routine childhood vaccinations. As children return to school, it is important for parents to understand the role vaccinations play in your child’s health and the importance of having your child vaccinated, South Nassau’s medical experts said.

Today’s medical research indicates that there are certain genetic and environmental factors that may cause autism, but vaccines are not a factor. New York State requires children in a prekindergarten setting to have proper age-appropriate immunizations. There are seven most common vaccinations: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP); Polio; Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR); Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib); Hepatitis B; Chickenpox; and Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). The dosage depends on the schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). It is recommended that vaccinations be given at the earliest age appropriate time to increase their safest use.

There are exceptions to the New York State immunization requirements, including if a student has a valid medical or religious exemption, but not a philosophical exemption. A medical exemption could include proven immunity if a child has had the disease.

The South Nassau poll, which tests respondents’ knowledge on key public health topics, found a slight variation of attitudes about vaccinations that at times broke down along gender, age and racial lines. The poll found that:

· Residents in the 35-49 age group were slightly less likely to have their children vaccinated than their parents’ generation, even though they agreed with their parents that vaccines were safe
· Parents in the 35-49 age category were most likely to believe vaccines can cause autism or expressed uncertainty about the link between vaccines and autism. These parents were most likely to think unvaccinated children should be allowed in schools and exempt them for religious or personal reasons
· White parents are more likely to vaccinate than parents of color and are more likely to support efforts to keep unvaccinated children out of schools and doctors’ offices

The South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, was conducted via both landlines and cell phones from June 19-22 with 600 adults in New York City and on Long Island. The poll was conducted as part of the hospital’s mission of improving education around critical public health issues. The poll was conducted by a nationally recognized, independent polling firm, LJR Custom Strategies, which has offices in Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA. LJR has conducted more than 2,000 studies for a broad spectrum of health care, business, education, cultural, and political clients in almost every state in the country and around the world.
Contact Information
South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker

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