British Columbians favour mandatory vaccinations, poll finds

A measles vaccine is shown at a clinic.

A new Insights West poll released this week reveals the majority of people in British Columbia and Alberta has moved past the turn of the century theory that there could be a link between vaccinations and autism.

More than two-thirds of the surveyed residents in each province — 69 percent in BC and 74 percent in Alberta — said there was no connection between the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, and the development of autism in children.

The purported link got a significant amount of news coverage, following the publication of a research paper in the medical journal the Lancet back in 1998.

However, that research was fully retracted in 2010 and has since been described as “utterly false” by the medical journal’s editor.

Which brings us back, to the Insights West online survey, which shows most BC and Alberta residents favor mandatory immunization for childhood diseases. In this case, the numbers are 78 per cent in BC, and 73 per cent in Alberta.

A call to determine if the marketing research company had any regional polling numbers failed to generate a response prior to this story preparation deadline.

However, we do know less than one quarter of those polled — 17 per cent in BC and 20 per cent in Alberta — believe parents should have the final say on whether their children should be vaccinated.

Meantime, when it comes to the question of mandatory influenza vaccination for adults, the poll revealed a sharp reversal in public opinion.

Again less than one quarter of those surveyed — 19 percent in BC and 21 percent in Alberta — were in favour of that idea, and there were sizable majorities of 79 and 74 per cent respectively, who favored leaving the final decision on receiving the vaccine to individual choice.

The online study by the Vancouver and Calgary based marketing research company involved just over 800 adults in each province and they were surveyed in the first nine days of May.