To most Americans, there is no debate on whether children should be vaccinated for measles, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. The survey, conducted in the middle of a national measles outbreak that has infected 154 people in 2015, found that 78 percent of respondents believe vaccinations should be mandatory for healthy children.
Parents who forbid their children from being vaccinated have contributed to the 2015 measles outbreak that originated at Disneyland in California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some parents are reluctant to immunize their kids out of fear that the vaccinations may be linked to autism and other disorders.
Vaccinations for preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella received strong support in the poll from a range of groups. About 84 percent of Americans who are at least 50 years old said the immunizations should be required, while 70 percent of parents with children younger than 18 said they felt the same way. Women also supported vaccinations at a higher rate than men, 81 percent to 75 percent.
The poll also found that most respondents didn’t want unvaccinated children to participate in public school and day care while a near-majority said such children shouldn’t be allowed to go to private school. About 42 percent of respondents said healthy but unvaccinated kids should be allowed to attend public school, 51 percent said these children should be allowed to participate in private school and 39 percent said such kids should be allowed to participate in day care activities.
As of Feb. 20, there were 154 measles cases reported in 17 states in the U.S., according to the latest CDC statistics. Three outbreaks, including the one at Disneyland and others in Nevada and Illinois, account for 90 percent of all cases, the agency said.
While measles had been virtually nonexistent in the U.S. due to vaccinations, there has been an uptick in cases due to the anti-vaccination movement that believes the shots may cause autism. In 2014, there were 383 cases of the measles reported, mostly from a large outbreak in Amish communities in Ohio that brought the disease back to the U.S. via the Philippines.
The CNN/ORC poll interviewed 1,027 American adults from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.