One in three parents want their kids to be vaccinated against dangerous virus, new survey shows

One out of three parents with young children in Toronto are “certain or somewhat likely” to have their kids vaccinated against a dangerous respiratory virus that’s already swept across the country and killed one person, according to a new survey.

The survey, done for the Toronto Immunization Collaborative, included 1,186 people age 18 and under, asking them about their views on vaccines.

Among the findings:

More than three-quarters of parents polled are concerned that vaccines can cause diseases. And 60 percent are “certain or somewhat likely” to have their child vaccinated against measles, astrangely named for the bubonic plague that was thought to be extinguished.

Nine percent of respondents said they were either “certain or somewhat likely” to have their children vaccinated against diphtheria, a common childhood disease that has had a resurgence in recent years.

Twenty-eight percent said they are “certain or somewhat likely” to have their child vaccinated against influenza, the common viral illness that can make you seriously ill. Twenty-nine percent said they were “certain or somewhat likely” to have their child vaccinated against whooping cough, sometimes called “whooping cough.”

The majority of parents, 70 percent, said they were comfortable with their children being vaccinated, the survey found. But more than a third — 36 percent — said they were not comfortable.

Published reports suggest measles has been increasing in Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean, with the largest number of cases in Spain and Italy.

In 2013, 34,796 people in the U.S. were sickened by measles, with 173 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The surge in cases in the past few years, coinciding with outbreaks of measles and pertussis in the United States, were a result of a combination of factors: waning immunity due to waning childhood immunity, higher rates of vaccination of unvaccinated people, and a relatively smaller childhood vaccination uptake rate than in many other countries.

The Pediatric Society says the vaccine is safe, effective and has no side effects. The majority of cases of measles in the U.S. are among unvaccinated children who have been exposed to cases in other countries and not from locally acquired illness, it says.

The SickKids Foundation, a Canadian children’s research organization, has put together a rich rundown of what Canadians think on the subject, including healthy pregnancy, efficient government bureaucracy, public spending and the use of violence in entertainment.

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