Updated: Wed May. 05 2010 7:49:52 AM
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — It might seem counterintuitive but it also appears to be true: Parents with more education were less likely to get their daughters vaccinated against HPV during the first year of British Columbia’s free school-based program, a new study shows.
The finding of the study, published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests vaccination efforts are being eroded not by people who are under-educated, but by upper-middle class folks with degrees.
“I think it’s the combination of people who are used to making decisions, people who believe they can become experts by reading things on the Internet which would trump what public health officials or academics or doctors are saying,” vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit said when asked to comment on the study.
“They’re used to making choices in their jobs and in their life, one. And two, they make those choices based on information. And the information that one gets here probably is primarily through places like the Internet, which is a source of both good and bad information about vaccines.”
The study comes on the tail of another published Tuesday which showed that there has been a sharp increase in the percentage of U.S. parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children or delaying vaccination against the advice of the medical community.
That study, presented at an international conference in Vancouver, found 39 per cent of parents refused or delayed vaccinations for their children in 2008, up from 22 per cent in 2003.
Offit, who is chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was not involved in either study.
The HPV study was conducted primarily by researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia.