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Study: 1 in 10 Parents Do Not Follow CDC Vaccine Schedule


Did you get your kids all their vaccines on time? If not, you're not alone: about 1 in 10 parents don't follow the CDC-recommended vaccine schedule, meaning they either skip or delay vaccine doses.

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Dr. Amanda Dempsey, the lead author on a study which examined the vaccine choices of 748 families with children aged 6 months to 6 years, said the most commonly skipped vaccines are for varicella (chickenpox) and the flu - mostly because parents have lived through those illnesses themselves.

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The most commonly delayed vaccine is the MMR shot, which is not surprising given the controversy over a since-debunked suggested link to autism. Dr. Dempsey said parents who choose to delay usually wait to give the vaccine until after ages 2 to 4, when autism signs commonly surface.

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While only two percent of parents in the study refused all vaccines for their children, 13 percent opted for an alternative schedule. Twenty-five percent of those believe delaying vaccines lessens side effects, and 29 percent skipped vaccines that they believe aren't necessary.

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The survey also found that 81 percent of parents who skip or delay vaccines do so because they don't think that unvaccinated children are at risk to contract diseases. Dr. Saad Omer, a global health and pediatrics professor at Emory University, said that because vaccinations cause the rate of diseases like polio or measles to go down, parents may think that these diseases are rare enough that there’s no need to vaccinate against them. Plus, given the relative rarity of the diseases, parents may now hear more about the negative side effects of vaccines, rather than the diseases they aim to eradicate.

Plus: How to ease your kid's fear of shots

Did you follow the CDC vaccination schedule to a T, or did you delay or skip vaccines?