Vaccines are universally backed by respected scientists and federal agencies, but that isn’t enough to convince every parent to vaccinate their children.
The decision to fly in the face of near universal scientific opinion doesn’t come as a result of a lack of intellect, however, as experts who have studied vaccines and immunology acknowledge that many parents who don’t vaccinate their children are well-educated.
They also appear to be the victims of a widespread misinformation campaign, the experts said.
Daniel Salmon, who is the director of the Institute of Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, said that existing research suggests that there are some common attributes that many parents who choose not to vaccinate their children share.
“They tend to be better educated. They tend to be white, and they tend to be higher income. They tend to have larger families and they tend to use complementary and alternative medicine like chiropractors and naturopaths,” Salmon said.
Peter Hotez, a vaccine advocate and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said that “we need a lot more social science” data about the specific characteristics of those who opt against vaccinations, but he agreed that “they tend to be affluent and educated.”