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Most residents do not believe there is a link between childhood vaccinations and the development of autism.

Vancouver, BC – Most people in British Columbia and Alberta favour ensuring that every child in the province is immunized against childhood diseases, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, 78% of British Columbians and 73% of Albertans believe that, when it comes to childhood diseases (such as polio or measles), vaccinations for children should be mandatory in their province.

Only 17% of British Columbians and 20% of Albertans believe that parents should be the ones making a decision on whether their children should be vaccinated.


More than two thirds of residents in each province (69% in BC and 74% in Alberta) say there is no connection between the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella and the development of autism in children. Still, about three-in-ten residents (31% in BC and 25% in Alberta) are either undecided or believe this link does exist.

The purported link between childhood vaccinations and autism started with the publication of a research paper in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998. The research paper was fully retracted in 2010, and has been since described by the medical journal’s editor as “utterly false.”

“Five years have passed since The Lancet fully retracted the research paper that attempted to establish a link between vaccinations and autism,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “While celebrities and politicians in the United States continue to get a significant amount of air time discussing this issue, most Western Canadians have moved on from this controversy and are highly supportive of mandatory immunizations for children.”

The idea of mandatory vaccines for adults is not particularly popular. Only 19% of British Columbians and 21% of Albertans think the flu vaccine should be mandatory, while sizeable majorities (79% in BC and 74% in Alberta) think each person should be allowed to decide whether they want to get the flu vaccine.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has fifteen full-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 9, 2015, among 814 adult British Columbians, and an online study conducted from May 1 to May 3, 2015, among 801 adult Albertans. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia and Alberta. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for British Columbia and Alberta. Click to view the detailed data tabulations for British Columbia and Alberta.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Courtesy of Apotek Hjartat, CC