HealthDay News — In the wake of the measles outbreak that has generated headlines for months, more Americans now say they have positive feelings toward childhood vaccinations, according to a new HealthDay/Harris Poll.

The poll, conducted online between Feb. 25 to 27, included a nationally representative sample of 2,032 U.S. adults. Of those surveyed, 87% said they thought that the vaccines routinely given to young children are safe. That’s up from 77% from a similar poll last July.

The new poll also shows the following:

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  • 82% of respondents say childhood vaccinations should be mandatory for all children, which is up from 77% in the July poll
  • 79% say there’s at least a moderate level of risk that an unvaccinated child could contract a disease that vaccinations are designed to protect against, up 5%
  • 69% say a child contracting a vaccine-preventable disease such as measles would present at least a moderate danger to other children, up 64%

However, the poll also found that many younger adults, and parents of young children, continue to believe the debunked claim that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism.

In the new poll, the Millennial generation (those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) was most likely to believe the MMR-autism claim (22%). That compares to 18% of Gen Xers (those born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s), 12% of baby boomers, and 8% of Americans aged older than 70 years.

The poll found that people with the highest-income households — earning $100,000 or more a year — were less likely to believe in the MMR-autism link. Only 12% did, versus 22% of people from households earning less than $50,000.

For more details, see the full results from the Harris Poll.