Dangerous claim lingers

Many Americans still unsure whether vaccines cause autism, despite scientific evidence

Though the claim that vaccinations cause autism has been thoroughly debunked for years, 46 percent of Americans report that they are unsure whether “certain vaccines do—or do not—cause autism in children,” according to a recent Gallup poll.

That’s down from the 52 percent who were unsure the last time Gallup conducted the poll in 2015. However, more adults these days say they believe vaccines cause autism in children: 10 percent (up from 6 percent in 2015).

When it comes to this subject, there’s a marked difference in opinion between political parties. Approximately 55 percent of Democrats said vaccines do not cause autism, while 37 percent of Republicans said they do not. Similarly, fewer Republicans (79 percent) said it is extremely or very important to vaccinate children than Democrats (92 percent).

Overall, however, 84 percent of Americans say it’s either extremely or very important to vaccinate children. This matches Gallup’s poll results in 2015, but is down from 94 percent in 2001. And nearly half of Americans (45 percent) do not think vaccines cause autism, an improvement from 41 percent in 2015.