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Fear of autism seems to have fueled more wealthier parents to choose not to vaccinate their children, says the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a nonprofit group that evaluates the healthcare industry.
The NCQA recently found that vaccination rates for children insured by major carriers dropped nearly four percentage points between 2008 and 2009. MMR vaccines decreased from 93.5 percent in 2008 to 90.6 percent in 2009; diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough rates fell from 87.2 percent to 85.4 percent in that one-year period; and the proportion of kids getting vaccinated for chicken pox fell from 92 percent in 2008 to 90.6 percent in 2009. Bear in mind that these are kids who have health insurance, not those whose parents can't afford to vaccinate. The findings showed that low-income families on Medicaid, however, were getting their kids vaccinated more than ever.
To blame? The common, new misconception that vaccines can cause autism. "I would argue that parents are doing what they think is the best for their children -- they're just misinformed," Dr. Robert W. Frenck Jr., professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told Health Day News.
Many studies have been conducted on the study that have found no link between vaccines and autism -- the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, urging parents to get their kids immunized -- but many parents still worry. What seems more worrisome is this: If rates of immunizations continue to drop, could it mean the resurgence of some communicable diseases that vaccines have erradicated?
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