Taking A Break

A farmer takes a break under some shade trees along Farmland Road in East Lampeter Twp. Wednesday September 9, 2020.

There is a stubborn belief that the Amish universally reject vaccines, probably due to lagging childhood vaccination rates.

But this belief in vaccine rejection likely is not accurate.

In a 2017 doctoral study (see below) that examined the perceptions of Old Order Amish, Pam Cooper found the majority of surveyed individuals had a positive attitude toward immunizations.

Cooper is a physician’s assistant at the Parochial Medical Center in New Holland Borough. The medical center primarily serves the Plain community, which consists of Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

Cooper surveyed 158 Amish adult patients, the majority of whom live in Lancaster County.

Among the findings

- 59% expressed a positive attitude of vaccination, while 31% had a negative view.

- 10% had neither a positive or negative opinion.

- 75% said they had never discussed vaccination with their health care provider. 

- 62% said they were “likely to or definitely” would vaccinate their children while 24% said they would not likely or definitely wouldn’t.

- 14% were uncertain whether they would vaccinate their children or not.

Cooper also found the vaccination decision was made jointly by husband and wife, although the Amish male is considered the head of the family, 

“Many Amish parents are willing to vaccinate their children, but are poorly educated regarding vaccine safety, childhood illnesses, and complications from contracting childhood diseases,” Cooper wrote. “Providers are missing many opportunities to discuss vaccines with Amish parents.”

Source: “Perceptions About Childhood Vaccinations in the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania”

Pam Cooper's 2017 doctoral study

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