35% of Parents Oppose School Vaccine Mandates

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The DPT vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, is routinely given to children in the first year of life.
Source: Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

According to a Dec. 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 35% of parents now oppose school vaccine mandates, up from 23% in Dec. 2019. 

Just 28% of adults overall, parents or no, stated that parents should be able to opt their children out of school vaccine mandates, up from 16% in an Oct. 2019 Pew Research Poll.

The issue has flared and become more partisan with the potential for COVID-19 vaccine school mandates. 44% of Republican adults stated that parents should be able to opt-out of school vaccine mandates in 2022, up from 20% in Oct. 2019, pre-pandemic. Meanwhile, 88% of Democrat adults supported vaccine mandates in Dec. 2022, up from 86% in the pre-pandemic Oct. 2019 poll.

However, experts believe the opposition may be more about parental rights than opposition to the vaccines themselves as 80% of parents agreed that the benefits of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine outweigh the risks.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting 29 doses of 10 vaccines (plus a yearly flu shot after six months old) for kids aged 0 to six.

Discussion Questions

1. Should vaccines be required for children to attend school? Why or why not?

2. In terms of school vaccine mandates, should parental rights take precedence over public health? Or vice versa? Explain your answer(s).

3. Should employers be able to mandate vaccinations? Why or why not?


Jan Hoffman, “Opposition to School Vaccine Mandates Has Grown Significantly, Study Finds,” nytimes.com, Dec. 16, 2022

Lunna Lopes, et al., “KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: December 2022,” kff.org, Dec. 16, 2022