The American Osteopathic Association this week published the results of a survey of more than 2,000 adults showing that misinformation about vaccines is so pervasive in the US that more than half of respondents don’t recognize that vaccination entails risks.
Asked to identify anything that has caused them to doubt vaccine safety, 55% of respondents indicated that they have never encountered any reason to doubt vaccine safety.
Even more telling, when asked to choose from a set of statements about vaccines which one best represented their own viewpoint, 51% of respondents indicated their ignorance of the fact that these pharmaceutical products can potentially cause serious harm.
A small minority, just 2%, expressed their belief that vaccines generally are unsafe and ineffective. Another 6% expressed the more nuanced view that the risks of vaccinations generally outweigh the potential benefits. Only 9% expressed uncertainty about whether vaccines are generally safe and effective.
A large majority, 82%, expressed being in favor of vaccines, but only 31% of those acknowledged that there are risks associated with the use of these pharmaceutical products by answering, “I think the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks of vaccine side effects”.
The remainder — 51% — refused to acknowledge the fact that vaccination entails potential risk of harm by instead responding, “I think vaccines are safe and effective”.
This result, showing that most American adults are so misinformed about vaccines that they believe there are no risks to be weighed against the potential benefits, is an alarming testament to the pervasiveness of pro-vaccine propaganda in our society.
For an antidote, read my article “How to Immunize Yourself Against Vaccine Propaganda.”