Story at a glance

  • A Gallup poll shows fewer Americans find it important to vaccinate children.
  • One of the largest deciding factors in response is postgraduate education. Those with advanced degrees tend to see vaccines as important.
  • Around 10 percent of Americans believe that there is a link between vaccines and autism in children.

Fewer Americans find it critically important to have their child vaccinated, according to a new Gallup survey. While 84 percent of Americans surveyed in 2019 say that vaccinating children is important, that number is down from 94 percent in 2001. 

Survey respondents polled in 2015 also gave a reading of 84 percent. 

Women respondents appear slightly more concerned about vaccinating children, with 85 percent saying it is important as opposed to 82 percent of men agreeing. 

There is a notable relationship between age and response; 91 percent of surveyed Americans who were 65 and older found that vaccinating children was important. That is six points higher than the next oldest age group, ages 50 to 64. Younger respondents in the age ranges of 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 observed percentages in the low 80s. 

There is also a trend when it comes to education. Ninety percent of respondents with a postgraduate education or degree found vaccinations to be important for children, with 89 percent of Americans who have undergraduate degrees agreeing. For those without a college degree, they were less likely to think vaccines were important.

The report states that “the only group that has maintained its 2001 level of support for vaccines is highly educated Americans, those with postgraduate degrees.”

Democrats tend to see vaccinations as important, with 92 percent of Democratic respondents saying so. This is a leap from the 79 percent of Republicans who find vaccinating children to be important. 

Gallup notes that 2015 saw a sharp decline in Americans’ general attitude toward vaccinations as opposed to 2001 survey results.  

Additionally, the data indicates that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not view vaccines as more dangerous than the diseases they prevent, despite the anti-vaccination movement in the past decade. Only 11 percent of Americans believe that vaccinations are more harmful.

This pattern is steady across all demographics. 

Regarding the claim that vaccinations can cause autism in children, which has been dispelled, only 10 percent of survey respondents believe they do cause autism. 

The remaining 90 percent are almost equally divided, however, between the answers "No" and "Unsure." The largest discrepancy in response here is again seen from those with a postgraduate education; 73 percent do not believe vaccinations have a link to autism. 

This report comes amid recent reports of children suffering serious health conditions from missing vaccinations. It emphasizes that “The science is clear: Vaccines are safe, and having children vaccinated is both important and confers vast benefits for them.”


Published on Jan 14, 2020