- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Public concern and confusion continues over vaccines, measles, Disneyland, vigilant parents, noisy media and annoyed health officials. Then there’s New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent remark: he told an audience that while his own children have been vaccinated, he also understood why “parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well.” Well, OK. But why are Americans nervous about immunizations?

It all hinges on the public’s trust and confidence in government says a new study from Ohio State University, which analyzed historical national data from the Pew Research Center that gauged the public’s views on flu shots. The report found that 60 percent of those with confidence in government were willing to take the vaccine. Among those with low confidence, the number was 32 percent. It also revealed a significant partisan difference; 64 percent of the Democrats said they would be immunized, compared to 43 percent of both Republicans and independents. But their resistance wasn’t governed political beliefs, the researchers contend. It’s the trust factor.

“It’s not that Republicans reject vaccination because of their conservative views,” says sociology professor Ken Schirian, who led the research. “It was their lack of confidence in the government to deal with the swine flu crisis that was driving their anti-vaccination views.” The study was published in Health Promotion International, an academic journal.

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