The problem of vaccination refusal: a review with guidance for pediatricians
Curr Opin Pediatr
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In the wake of multiple recent outbreaks of the measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, it is crucial to understand and address parental concerns about vaccination. The purposes of this review are: to identify the causes of vaccine resistance, to elucidate the variables that have led to the success or failure of interventions to date, and to consider implications for pediatricians treating children whose parents are vaccination-resistant. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent research draws on insights from cognitive science to understand vaccine resistance and to develop more effective interventions. Studies show that vaccine resistors are more likely to value lifestyle liberty, to favor individualistic over hierarchical worldviews, and to believe in conspiracy theories. Interventions that seek primarily to correct erroneous beliefs about the dangers of vaccination are likely to fail or even backfire. On the other hand, intervention strategies, such as motivational interviewing, in which the provider elicits and shows respect for parents' values and concerns while empowering them to make well informed and well reasoned decisions, are more likely to be successful. Parents cite a trusting relationship with their pediatrician as the most important factor influencing their decision to vaccinate. SUMMARY: Pediatricians are in the best position to successfully apply insights from cognitive science and intervention research to overcome vaccination-hesitancy.
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School of Medicine