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Big number: The importance of vaccines

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84 percent

That’s the share of Americans who say it is extremely or very important that parents vaccinate their children, according to a recent Gallup survey. That number is the same as it was in 2015, but is down 10 percent from 2001.

The decline in the number of Americans who believe in the importance of vaccinating children that occurred between 2001 and 2015 happened across almost all demographic groups — age, gender, education, political affiliation, and parental status — and only highly educated Americans maintained their 2001 level of support for vaccines. Gallup reported that 90 percent of this group said vaccination was important in 2019, falling only two percentage points since 2001.

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Among those with a bachelor’s degree or less, support fell at least five percentage points.

Gallup also reported that in 2019, 46 percent of Americans said they were unsure whether vaccines caused autism, down from 52 percent in 2015. In 2019, only 45 percent of Americans said they believed vaccines do not cause autism and 10 percent said they do.


Abbi Matheson can be reached at abbi.matheson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AbbiMatheson