Which is more authoritative: the warning or the advisory?
Parents and teachers are increasingly using the warning label in the United States and other countries when speaking to parents about the dangers of vaccines, according to a new survey.
The survey of more than 4,000 parents by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that while some use the word warning when discussing vaccines, nearly half (47 percent) use the term advisory when discussing how parents can take control of their children’s vaccination plans.
The study, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that the word advisory has gained popularity in recent years, with more than two-thirds of parents who responded saying they have seen or read the word, up from less than half in 2012.
The survey was conducted through online surveys and telephone interviews in 2015.
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (73 percent) said they were aware of a similar survey conducted in 2011, but only half of those surveyed in 2015 responded.
“Parents are increasingly concerned about the health risks associated with vaccines and vaccines have been increasingly used as an advisory tool to educate parents about how to manage their childrens vaccination plans,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, chief of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, said in a statement.
“Parents are becoming increasingly aware that vaccines may be causing health problems, which is why we’re now seeing more and more people asking parents questions about the safety and effectiveness of their vaccines.
This trend is especially troubling given that more than half of all children in the U.S. now receive some form of immunization, and that more parents are considering vaccinating their children.”
According to the study, advisory has become more popular among parents since 2014, with 68 percent of those who responded in 2015 using the term to describe how to handle a child’s vaccine plan, compared to 35 percent in 2012 and 18 percent in 2009.
The AAP said it has received reports of parents using advisory as an alternative to warning to address concerns that vaccines cause autism, but warned that there is a risk in not being as upfront as the CDC and others.
“We are very concerned that this is becoming more of an informal term that may be used by parents to avoid discussing vaccines,” Frieden said.
“That could result in parents not having the information they need to know about vaccines and their benefits.”
Frieden said it is not uncommon for parents to discuss their vaccine plans with their children in a way that is more in line with the CDC guidance.
“If parents are asking questions about vaccinations and not saying anything upfront about it, it could have a negative impact on their children,” Friedon said.
In addition, the AAP said, parents need to be aware that many of the guidelines they read online about vaccines, such as the recommendations to use the vaccine for only a short time, are based on research that has not been rigorously tested and that have been found to not work.
“Most parents are not looking at the science and thinking about how their children can safely get a vaccine,” Friedun said.