Reality bites back

29 Aug

I think Scripps is a School of Journalism associated with Ohio University. Maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

Anyway, this little nugget popped up in my feed aggregator today.

Although two-thirds of the nation’s adults have heard concerns that vaccines might produce dangerous side effects, nearly three-quarters say the benefits outweigh the risks, according to a survey of 811 adults conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University.

They overwhelmingly report that it’s a “very serious concern” that nearly a quarter of the nation’s youth are not fully immunized against polio, mumps and measles.

The poll found that 66 percent had heard that “some parents and researchers say vaccines have side effects that may lead to autism, asthma, diabetes, attention deficit disorder and other medical problems.” About 33 percent had not heard of these concerns, and 1 percent was uncertain.

Seventy-one percent of the adults said “the benefits of immunizations outweigh the risks,” while 19 percent “have questions about the risks of immunization,” and 10 percent were uncertain or gave other responses such as “it depends upon the kind of immunization.”

811 people were polled via telephone.

Now, first off, lets not get carried away. Its an opinion poll and nothing more but its still pretty heartening. It also confirms an opinion I’ve long held: that the autism/antivax brigade are a noisy, unrepresentative minority. Also, that….well….

People with college degrees and post-graduate educations were especially likely to endorse vaccinations, while adults with only a high school education were more likely to be uncertain.

Ahem. Moving on…

I’d like to make sure that certain sections read this survey. It might (but probably won’t) give them some insight into how their actions are concerning their fellow citizens.

9 Responses to “Reality bites back”

  1. codeman38 August 29, 2008 at 03:15 #

    Scripps is actually a newspaper publishing company; the Ohio journalism school is funded in part by that company and named for its founder, but the two are otherwise independent.

  2. isles August 29, 2008 at 04:05 #

    I’m actually surprised at the finding that the college-educated were less likely to doubt vaccines. What I’ve read is that it’s the ones who have achieved some level of expertise who then think they’re qualified to evaluate evidence in an entirely unfamiliar field, and end up as the noisy self-proclaimed vaccine experts we all know so well.

    Heartening, though, to know that a good chunk of the public can hear the claims of anti-vaxers and reject them.

  3. Do'C August 29, 2008 at 06:53 #

    What I’ve read is that it’s the ones who have achieved some level of expertise who then think they’re qualified to evaluate evidence in an entirely unfamiliar field, and end up as the noisy self-proclaimed vaccine experts we all know so well.

    I’ve read that it’s a little more ones who reported “some college” in a survey.

    I’m not convinced survey responses equate with “achieving some level of expertise”.

    Just sayin’.

  4. isles August 29, 2008 at 14:30 #

    Ahh, D’oC, that’s interesting, and makes sense.

    WRT expertise I was thinking of people who think, “I have a degree from Faber University, so I must be smart enough to figure this out, even though all the legitimate doctors in the world believe otherwise.”

  5. Sullivan August 29, 2008 at 15:17 #

    Interesting paper, Do’C.

    This sentence seems to ring true:

    Parents of exempt children gave more credibility to CAM professionals for vaccine information and were more likely to report family use of CAM than parents of vaccinated children.

  6. A Free Man August 30, 2008 at 01:20 #

    Hi Kev,

    Just wanted to drop in and say thanks for commenting on my blog. I’ve actually moved the autism posts to a new site as I’ve begun to get hate filled e-mails and comments from some of the MMR-autism folks. I wanted to go a bit more anonymous. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for your well reasoned and stated comment and wish you all the best. I’ll keep an eye on your site – it’s very nicely done.


  7. Kev August 30, 2008 at 08:36 #

    Sorry to hear you’re being harrassed Chris – although not terribly surprised. Where have you moved the autism stuff too? Drop me an email if you’d rather let me know that way. kevleitchATgmailDOTcom

  8. Liz Ditz August 30, 2008 at 22:02 #

    Thousands of unvaccinated children enter schools

    A special investigative report by Scripps Howard News Service has prepared an in-depth look at the issues surrounding vaccine exemptions and the risk of disease resurgence.

    * Thousands of unvaccinated children enter schools (by Lee Bowman)

    * Fears of long-range side effects fuel vaccine debate (by Lee Bowman)
    [Mostly Barbara Loe Fisher’s opinions]

    * Cost of vaccines puts them out of reach for many (by Lee Bowman)

    * Poll: Americans see both need, potential dangers of vaccines (by Thomas Hargrove)

    * Facts about common vaccines (by Lee Bowman)

    (E-mail Scripps Howard News Service health and science writer Lee Bowman at bowmanl(at)
    (Thomas Hargrove is Scripps Howard News Service’s polling director. E-mail him at hargrovet(at)

    # Scripps Newspapers

    * Abilene Reporter-News
    * Anderson Independent-Mail
    * Boulder Daily Camera
    * Corpus Christi Caller-Times
    * Evansville Courier
    * Henderson Gleaner
    * Kitsap Sun
    * Knoxville News Sentinel
    * Memphis Commercial Appeal
    * Naples Daily News
    * Redding Record Searchlight
    * Rocky Mountain News
    * San Angelo Standard-Times
    * Treasure Coast Newspapers
    * Ventura County Star
    * Wichita Falls Times Record News


  1. Autism Blog - Autism’s False Prophets | Left Brain/Right Brain - September 5, 2008

    […] and devastatingly argues, the science has spoken. Vaccines don’t cause autism. And as I blogged about recently, it seems pretty clear that the US public are (rightly) more concerned about the possible […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: