An outbreak of measles won’t change some Canadian parents’ minds about vaccinations, highlighting the ongoing mistrust among so-called anti-vaxxers about the safety and efficacy of modern vaccines. A survey of more than 1,013 Canadians who chose not to inoculate their children against measles found that over three-quarters of them said it was “not at all likely” that recent outbreaks in the country would lead them to vaccinate their kids, according to the latest polling, released Monday, from Mainstreet Technologies.
“Despite the fact that measles has regularly been in the news over the past two months, nearly 80 percent of respondents still say they are not at all likely to vaccinate their children,” Mainstreet Technologies President Quito Maggi said in a statement. “This is a continuing problem for those who cannot be vaccinated and depend on herd immunity for coverage.”
Thirty-nine percent of respondents to the survey who said they would not vaccinate their kids were from households with incomes over $100,000, and 38 percent held a university degree. The majority – 65 percent – cited health reasons for choosing not to vaccinate. One out of five respondents mentioned religious reasons. Health officials in Canada recently confirmed 10 cases of measles in Quebec related to an outbreak of the disease that began at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, in December.
Public-opinion polling from February showed that a vast majority of Canadians said they believe that vaccines are effective at preventing disease. The survey found that younger respondents, people aged 18 to 34, were more skeptical of vaccines’ efficacy.
Measles continues to affect countries across the world from Africa to Europe, Asia and North America. Lower immunization rates in countries like Ethiopia and China caused the number of measles cases there to soar to the tens of thousands over the past several years, according to the World Health Organization. Europe has had more than 22,000 measles cases in 2014 and 2015.