Physicians Fail to Persuade Parents to Vaccinate, Study Finds

profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image
Photo: iStock

Communication between doctors and parents is essential, but it might not be effective at making change.

In light of the resurgence of the vaccine controversy tied to last year’s measles outbreak, public health professionals are trying harder than ever to get moree parents on board with immunizations. But studies show educating parents on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines usually still won’t convince antivaxxers to change their minds.

Seattle’s  Group Health Research Institute  decided to see if coaching doctors on effective parent communication could make a difference.

“The intervention was designed to involve parents and respect where they were coming from, respect that they wanted what was best for their child and the provider wanted that, too,” study lead author, Nora Henrikson, tells KQED’s news blog State of Health. Vaccinations would still be strongly recommended.

In spite of a 45-minute training session for doctors and additional written materials and emails, the intervention was a bust.

Of the 347 mothers of newborns involved in the study, there were no statistical differences in vaccination rates between women placed in clinics where doctors had received the training compared to women placed in other clinics.

“Obviously we were hopeful that it would improve vaccine hesitancy, so we would have preferred to see a different effect,” Henrikson says. “But it really raised more questions about what other projects we could do moving forward.”

Next steps include focusing even more on those who are neither antivaxxers nor pro-vaccines.

“There are people in between,” says Henrikson, “and we’re still understanding that, and at what point do people really have all the information they need?”

Related Video

Kids in These 15 Anti-Vax ‘Hotspots’ Are at Risk for Preventable Diseases

Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
06/25/2018

Q&A: Modified Immunization Schedule?

Dr. Cheryl Wu
Pediatrician

Why Vaccines During Pregnancy Matter, From a Mom Who Opted Out

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
04/07/2016

Vaccine Delays Usually Allowed by Doctors

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
03/03/2015

Are Needle-Free Flu Shots in Sight?

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
03/13/2018

Toddler's Flu Death Urges Warnings to Get Vaccinated

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
11/14/2017

Devastated Mom Reflects on the Moment She Passed Whooping Cough to Her Baby

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
11/15/2017

Elmo Gets a Lesson In Vaccinations

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

New Study Linking Vaccines to Autism Has Been Retracted

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
11/08/2017

Social Media Sites Crack Down on Misinformation From Anti-Vax Ads

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
02/25/2019

What if Baby Has a Bad Reaction to a Vaccine?

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Advertisement