Strong associations were found between vaccine reluctance and support for vaccinating pets

The vaccine hesitancy raises the risk that the United States will fall below critical thresholds to prevent a major outbreak.

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Texas A&M University School of Public Health Research on pet vaccination attitudes and how they might be linked to human vaccine hesitancy was a new topic. the study Recently published in the journal The vaccine.

Simon HaiderPh.D., associate professor, of an August 2023 survey of more than 2,000 dog and more than 1,400 cat owners to measure pet vaccination rates, vaccine perceptions and support for pet vaccination needs. Analyzed the data.

“Decreased pet vaccination rates pose challenges to society for a number of reasons, including increased incidence of pet illness and death, increased exposure to humans, more genetics of pathogens,” Haider said. potential for adaptation, as well as detrimental effects on veterinarians,” Haider said. . “Many people consider their pets part of the family, and the rise in vaccine-preventable diseases can affect owners’ financial and emotional health as well.”

The survey first asked respondents whether they owned a dog, a cat, or both. Dog and cat owners were then surveyed about their pets’ vaccination status for five diseases for dogs and cats. These include rabies for dogs and cats, canine parvovirus and canine distemper for dogs, and feline panleukopenia and feline Bordetella for cats. Respondents then responded with their level of support for vaccination requirements for each of the diseases listed. The survey also asked respondents about the perceived safety, efficacy and importance of various vaccines.

In addition to specific questions about pet vaccines, the survey asked respondents about their level of trust in scientists, support for a human vaccination mandate for children, political views, religiosity, non-veterinary expenses and other dogs outside the home. Asked about the frequency of exposure. . Finally, the survey measured perceptions of human vaccine safety, efficacy, and importance.

The survey found that a large majority of pet owners had their dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies, although cats were less frequently vaccinated than dogs. Other core vaccines had slightly lower, but still high doses, while there was more reluctance towards non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are generally recommended for all pets, regardless of lifestyle.

Further analysis found that perceptions of vaccine importance, efficacy, and safety served as reasonable predictors for vaccine hesitancy. Furthermore, these perceptions appear to be associated with attitudes toward the need for vaccination. Hyder’s analysis also found that pet owners are reluctant to opt for advanced vaccines without veterinary costs such as boarding or training fees. Finally, pet vaccination attitudes and perceptions appear to be less associated with political ideology than human vaccination.

The results of this study demonstrate a high level of confidence in the safety, efficacy and value of vaccines for humans and pets. Additionally, the analysis found a correlation between vaccine hesitancy in humans and animals, with support for animal vaccine requirements strongly associated with similar requirements for humans. This indicates the importance of paying more attention to vaccine hesitancy in humans and animals in future research and public health efforts and the potential for spillover effects.

“Concerns about increased reluctance remain and should be taken seriously, both for pets and humans, before the United States reaches critical thresholds to prevent large outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases,” Hyder said. come down from”.

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