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More adults see MMR vaccine preventative health benefits as “very high”

The Pew Research Center found an increase in support among adults for the MMR, or measles, mumps and rubella, vaccine. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A real scare involving measles seems to have convinced more adults of the value of the MMR, or measles, mumps and rubella, vaccine.

More adults now say the health benefits of the MMR vaccine are very high. The Pew Research Center saw growth in that group from the last time they asked the question. 88% of US adults now say the benefits outweigh the risks of any side effects. 82% support requiring the MMR vaccine for public school attendance.

But Utah pediatrician Bill Cosgrove still sees a small number who are distrustful…and fearful.

“So they try not to think of the things that would encourage them to feel fear. Yet, fear is a good thing. It’s the alarm bell attached to our priority list,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove says the measles outbreaks last year were scary, and they pushed to the top of Americans’ minds.

“They’ve always thought it was a good idea, they’ve always thought it was important,” he said. “But when they are reminded of the devastation of these illnesses, it brings it up to, yes it’s very important.”

He says parents who don’t want to vaccinate may just have a hard time picturing the worst possible outcome affecting their child. But they need to.

“Part of that is, really I think, a failure of imagination. It is hard to take an action against something you cannot see,” he said.

He said the Pew data showing more support for the MMR vaccine is encouraging. He says research shows the benefits of the MMR vaccine outweigh any risk of side effects.