Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Vaccination

Awareness of risks can change anti-vaccination beliefs

Sceptical parents may be persuaded to vaccinate their children against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) if they are provided with information about the risk and severity of the diseases

Source: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

Awareness of the risks associated with failure to vaccinate children will improve attitudes to vaccination among parents, suggest researchers

Sceptical parents may be persuaded to vaccinate their children against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) if they are provided with information about the risk and severity of the diseases, a new study published in PNAS[1] on 3 August 2015 has found. This is in contrast to a previous study that found trying to counter vaccination “myths” may actually galvanise sceptical parents’ views.

In recent years, cases of measles have been on the increase in the United States and the UK as MMR vaccination rates have dropped. This is in part caused by fears about a link between the vaccine and the development of autism; but studies have shown there is no such link.

To examine how best to persuade people of the importance of vaccinating children, researchers designed an education-based intervention and randomised participants into three groups (n=315). Vaccine attitude was recorded before and after the intervention. Participants in the “disease risk” group had a significant, positive change in their vaccine attitudes. This effect was especially pronounced in the group with the most negative attitudes prior to the intervention. In comparison, the attitudes of the group assigned to “autism correction” information — aimed at disproving a link between the MMR vaccine and autism — did not change compared with the control group (who read an unrelated scientific vignette).

The results suggest that parents are “likely to be responsive” to warnings about the severity of diseases prevented by vaccination (in the form of graphic pictures and anecdotes), say the authors. They hope that heightened awareness of the risks associated with failure to take preventive action will improve attitudes toward vaccinations.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069107

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

RPS publications

Pharmaceutical Press is the publishing division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and is a leading provider of authoritative pharmaceutical information used throughout the world.

Visit rpharms.com

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.