Parents Opt Out Of Kids’ Vaccinations Over Autism Fears

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Despite the re-emergence of measles in Southern California, a new study shows many parents are opting not to vaccinate their child over increased fears of links to autism.

The U.S. Centers For Disease Control says a recent measles outbreak put many kids at risk who were too young to be vaccinated, blaming the refusal of parents to vaccinate their older children. While this highly contagious viral disease was contained in the past, officials say the outlook for the future is not entirely measles-free.

So what’s behind the new trend? According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a non-profit health care organization, childhood vaccination rates in the U.S. in 2009 declined by almost four percentage points in commercial health plans, a drop the NCQA atributes to parents who may refuse vaccines for their children based on an unproven but increasingly popular notion that vaccines cause autism.

Dr. Janesri DeSilva, a pediatrician with Northridge Hospital Medical Center, joins KFWB’s Penny Griego and Phil Hulett to explain why many parents are opting not to get shots for their kids.

“The drop in childhood vaccinations is disturbing because parents are rejecting valuable treatment based on misinformation,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “All of us in health care need to work together to get better information to the public.”

The rates were determined on data collected from more than 1,000 health plans that cover 118 million Americans.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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