Vaccination Refusal and Parental Education: Lessons Learnt and Future Challenges

Robert M Jacobson


Pediatr Health. 2010;4(3):239-242. 

In This Article

What Clinicians should do

Clinicians have the skills of persuasion and use them everyday in their efforts to advise patients. Salmon and colleagues have documented that parents, even those who hesitate, identify clinicians as their most frequent source of information about vaccination.[20] Serpell and Green emphasize the importance of accepting the duty to persuade and not just inform.[11] We must recognize that parents are struggling to make correct decisions for their children, and they depend upon their relationships with their clinicians for help with those decisions. That relationship takes time. The clinician should anticipate the needs for parental education early in the relationship. Consider the education an ongoing conversation that continues over many visits. As for content, clinicians must work to stay informed about vaccines, the diseases they prevent and the data supporting their effectiveness and safety. Clinicians must heed that parents often have concerns specific to a particular vaccine and the details are important. Finally, clinicians must remember the need not just to inform, but persuade. Parents are seeking not just a tallying of benefits and risks, but a recommendation.


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