Sunday, October 23, 2011

young doctors are more skeptical about vaccines than older doctors

A study suggests that young doctors are more reluctant to believe vaccine effectiveness and safety than older doctors. The study was down on 551 doctors through survey on their believes of childhood vaccines such as polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. Young doctors were defined by those two just graduated medical school. This group was 15% less likely to believe in vaccine effectiveness than older doctors, possibly because of difference in views of risk-benefit analysis of vaccines.
One possibility for the age-related difference is the fact that younger doctors did not witness disease epidemics such as as those that were included in the survey since vaccines were already in place and prevented many cases before the doctors were born. Older doctors, in contrast, witnessed the epidemics of these diseases before vaccinations were available and are thus more likely to believe in vaccine safety and efficacy.
The article also talks about another study on parental opinion on childhood vaccinations. Results suggest that parents are most likely to reject MMR, HPV, and flu vaccine. Top reasons for deferring vaccines included belief that vaccines could lead to autism, too many shots, and fear of side effects.

I think this article is interesting because it focuses on both doctors' views on vaccines and the parents' beliefs about vaccines. I think it's particularly interesting that the older age group is more likely to believe in vaccine efficacy and safety than the younger generation because I thought since the young doctors just graduated medical school, they would have a fresh memory of vaccines and know that Wakefield's study on vaccine and autism has been long discredited. I feel like based on the results of the two studies mentioned in this article, there should be more public education programs to teach the public about the accurate pros and cons of vaccines. I'm also curious to know if there is correlation between the parents' opinion on vaccines and the age of their doctors (whether seeing younger doctors would make the parents less likely to agree to having their kids vaccinated)

Article source:

-Michelle Jin

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