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Measles cases not changing minds of those who aren't vaccinating kids, survey suggests

03/09/2015 06:22 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT
The recent outbreak of measles and resulting media coverage hasn't changed the mind of most parents who haven't vaccinated their children and who responded to a recent survey.

The telephone poll conducted by Main Street Technologies surveyed 1,013 Canadians who had children between the ages of one and 14 who not vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Overall, 80 per cent of those surveyed responded that they were not at all likely to vaccinate despite an outbreak of cases in recent weeks.

A total of 45 cases of measles have been reported in Canada for 2015, according to the latest figures. The incidences have occurred in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, but the Public Health Agency of Canada says they are not linked.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, 170 people from 17 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles from the start of 2015 until the end of February. Just under three-quarters of the cases were linked to Disneyland in California, as were the cases in Quebec.

“We found that the major reason, by far, parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children is health concerns," Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Technologies, said in a statement. "Education and income really aren’t a factor when you take a close look at the make-up of anti-vaxxers."

Health reasons were cited by 65 per cent of respondents as the reason they're choosing not to vaccinate their children, followed by religious reasons (19 per cent) and philosophical reasons (8 per cent).

Forty-one per cent of respondents who have at least one child not vaccinated reported a household income of $50,000 to $100,000. Households making over $100,000 accounted for 39 per cent of total respondents, while 20 per cent made under $50,000.

Between 10 to 13 per cent of respondents in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada said they were very likely or completely likely to vaccinate their child due to the recent cases in Canada and the U.S.

Less than six per cent of respondents in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba said they were very likely or completely likely to do so.

Survey interviews were conducted Feb. 22-28 using interactive voice response (IVR) polling. The margin of error associated with the study was plus or minus 3.08 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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