Surveys show most Americans widely support childhood vaccination requirements.
A survey from the Pew Research Center found 68 percent of US adults say childhood vaccines should be mandatory, compared to 86 percent of scientists with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
But very few parents actually get their children exempted from mandatory vaccinations: The median rate of exemptions for every state was about 1.8 percent in the 2013–2014 school year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A survey of 1,000 US adults by YouGov, conducted during the Disneyland measles outbreak in January 2015, found 57 percent of Americans support mandatory childhood vaccinations while 32 percent say parents should decide. Younger adults were much more likely to say childhood vaccination should be optional.
The YouGov survey also found 21 percent of young adults believe the long-debunked idea that vaccines cause autism, while just 13 percent of all US adults agree.
The empirical research on this issue is clear: There’s no connection between vaccines and autism.
Public health officials say it’s important the general population realizes vaccines are safe and effective so everyone who is able to gets vaccinated. If enough people don’t get vaccinated, pathogens are much more likely to find suitable hosts and cause big outbreaks or epidemics.