Fewer US adults believe vaccines are important, survey finds

Americans in 2019 were 10 percent less likely to believe vaccinating children is important than in 2001, according to a Gallup poll published Jan. 14.

Results were based on phone interviews conducted Dec. 2-15 with a random sample of 1,025 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

Five key survey findings: 

1. In 2019, 84 percent of U.S. adults said vaccinating children was very important, down from 94 percent in 2001. Attitudes have been relatively unchanging since 2015, when 84 percent of adults considered vaccination very important.

2. The only group that maintained its 2001 level of support for vaccines in 2019 were Americans with postgraduate degrees. Among all other education subgroups, perceptions of the importance of vaccination dropped by at least five percent.

3. The survey found 11 percent of adults in 2019 thought vaccines were more dangerous than the diseases they prevent, while 86 percent believed vaccines were less dangerous. In 2015, 87 percent felt that vaccines were less dangerous, compared to 90 percent in 2001. 

4. In the latest poll, 10 percent of adults said vaccines cause autism in children, an increase from 6 percent in 2015. In 2019, 45 percent did not think vaccines caused autism, higher than the 41 percent who said the same in 2015. Last year, about 46 percent of adults were unsure if vaccines caused autism, down from 52 percent.

5. Nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) of adults said they heard "a great deal" or "a fair amount" about the advantages of vaccinations in 2019, up from 83 percent in 2015 and 73 percent in 2001. However, 79 percent said they heard a great deal or a fair amount about the possible disadvantages of vaccines, an increase from 73 percent in 2015 and 39 percent in 2001.

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Americans in 2019 were 10 percent less likely to believe vaccinating children is important than in 2001, according to a Gallup poll published Jan. 14

Results were based on phone interviews conducted Dec. 2-15 with a random sample of 1,025 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Five key survey findings:

In 2019, 84 percent of U.S. adults said vaccinating children was very important, down from 94 percent in 2001. Attitudes have been relatively unchanging since 2015, when 84 percent of adults considered vaccination very important.

The only group that maintained its 2001 level of support for vaccines in 2019 were Americans with postgraduate degrees. Among all other education subgroups, perceptions of the importance of vaccination dropped by at least five percent.

The survey found 11 percent of adults in 2019 thought vaccines were more dangerous than the diseases they prevent, while 86 percent believed vaccines were less dangerous. In 2015, 87 percent felt that vaccines were less dangerous, compared to 90 percent in 2001.

In the latest poll, 10 percent of adults said vaccines cause autism in children, an increase from 6 percent in 2015. In 2019, 45 percent did not think vaccines caused autism, higher than the 41 percent who said the same in 2015. Last year, about 46 percent of adults were unsure if vaccines caused autism, down from 52 percent.

Nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) of adults said they heard "a great deal" or "a fair amount" about the advantages of vaccinations in 2019, up from 83 percent in 2015 and 73 percent in 2001. However, 79 percent said they heard a great deal or a fair amount about the possible disadvantages of vaccines, an increase from 73 percent in 2015 and 39 percent in 2001.

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