Anxiety about vaccinations should be addressed, not dismissed.
Vaccines, once the savior of an entire generation, have become a hotly contested issue in American culture, and fears that they might cause autism have dominated parents’ discussions about vaccines for more than a decade.
Parents of as many as one in 10 children refuse to vaccine their children with a state-mandated vaccine, and more than a third of American parents may delay or outright refuse a doctor-recommended vaccine for their children.
To make matters worse, officials have found that vaccine exemptions cluster in particular areas within a state and around the country, so some communities have very high rates of under-vaccinated children.
The fear that vaccines might cause autism is in fact proxy for a complex set of concerns that many parents have about the modern vaccine schedule. Health officials have failed to address parents’ underlying fears, and most parents lack the technical knowledge to effectively parse the many intertwined concerns that they have about vaccines.