06 October 2023

Dog Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy:  A delay in acceptance, or refusal, of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services and supporting evidence. The term covers refusals to vaccinate, delaying vaccines, accepting vaccines but remaining uncertain about their use, or using certain vaccines but not others. Vaccine hesitancy often results in disease outbreaks and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. The World Health Organization characterizes vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 global health threats. (from Wikipedia)

Welcome back. I’ve got another dog topic. Researchers with Boston University, Glenolden Animal Hospital, Glenolden, PA, and Colorado State University recently published a study that extends vaccine hesitancy to pet dog vaccinations.

The dangers posed by unvaccinated dogs include the possible spread of rabies and other infectious diseases and the mental and physical health risk to veterinary care providers. Notably, rabies is near-100% fatal if not treated.

Dog getting a rabies shot (from www.advancedcarevet.com/site/blog/2022/04/30/dog-rabies-vaccine).
Study Elements
The researchers partnered with YouGov to conduct a nationally representative online survey of 2,200 US adults between 30 March and 10 April 2023.

Analyzing the survey data, they first characterized the prevalence and correlates of vaccine hesitancy in the dog owner subpopulation. Large minorities of dog owners consider dog vaccines to be unsafe (37%), ineffective (22%) and/or unnecessary (30%); 53% of dog owners endorse at least one of these three positions. Those considering dog vaccines to be unsafe believe vaccinating their dog could cause autism, though there is no scientific evidence to validate that risk for animals or humans.

Outcome and explanatory variables from YouGov survey of canine vaccine hesitancy (from www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0264410X23010150?via%3Dihub).

The researchers then developed a series of statistical models that associate vaccine hesitancy to sociodemographic factors that may influence negative attitudes toward dog vaccines. These include the possibility of “vaccine spillover” from misinformation acceptance about the safety of human vaccines, political partisanship and demographic controls.

They conclude with a review of the potentially deleterious effects vaccine hesitancy may have on policies that encourage canine vaccination.

Wrap Up
Overall, the study documents dog vaccine hesitancy among US dog owners, finding that most dog owners express some doubt about dog vaccines. Dog owners are especially likely to hold these views if they have reservations about the safety of human vaccines. There is also evidence of vaccine politicization. Dog owners identifying as Democrats tend to be less likely to express vaccine hesitancy.

Given that an estimated 45% of US households own one or more dogs, vaccine hesitancy has important public health and health policy consequences. Those who express doubt tend to be more likely to oppose policies that encourage universal rabies vaccination.

Thanks for stopping by.

Review of vaccine hesitancy on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_hesitancy
Study of canine vaccine hesitancy in Vaccine journal: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0264410X23010150?via%3Dihub
Article on study on EurekAlert! website: www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1000259

1 comment:

  1. I've always been a bit of a troller, so please don't take my comment seriously. That said, I think dogs have always been hesitant about vaccines (well any kind of injection for that matter).

    What I think has changed is, we humans are finally catching up with a dog's remarkable sense of intuition.