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      Attitudes to vaccination: A critical review

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      Social Science & Medicine

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          This paper provides a consolidated overview of public and healthcare professionals' attitudes towards vaccination in Europe by bringing together for the first time evidence across various vaccines, countries and populations. The paper relies on an extensive review of empirical literature published in English after 2009, as well as an analysis of unpublished market research data from member companies of Vaccines Europe. Our synthesis suggests that hesitant attitudes to vaccination are prevalent and may be increasing since the influenza pandemic of 2009. We define hesitancy as an expression of concern or doubt about the value or safety of vaccination. This means that hesitant attitudes are not confined only to those who refuse vaccination or those who encourage others to refuse vaccination. For many people, vaccination attitudes are shaped not just by healthcare professionals but also by an array of other information sources, including online and social media sources. We find that healthcare professionals report increasing challenges to building a trustful relationship with patients, through which they might otherwise allay concerns and reassure hesitant patients. We also find a range of reasons for vaccination attitudes, only some of which can be characterised as being related to lack of awareness or misinformation. Reasons that relate to issues of mistrust are cited more commonly in the literature than reasons that relate to information deficit. The importance of trust in the institutions involved with vaccination is discussed in terms of implications for researchers and policy-makers; we suggest that rebuilding this trust is a multi-stakeholder problem requiring a co-ordinated strategy.

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          Most cited references48

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          Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability, death and inequity worldwide

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            The influence of vaccine-critical websites on perceiving vaccination risks.

            This large-scale Internet-experiment tests whether vaccine-critical pages raise perceptions of the riskiness of vaccinations and alter vaccination intentions. We manipulated the information environment (vaccine-critical website, control, both) and the focus of search (on vaccination risks, omission risks, no focus). Our analyses reveal that accessing vaccine-critical websites for five to 10 minutes increases the perception of risk of vaccinating and decreases the perception of risk of omitting vaccinations as well as the intentions to vaccinate. In line with the 'risk-as-feelings' approach, the affect elicited by the vaccine-critical websites was positively related to changes in risk perception.
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              Parents with doubts about vaccines: which vaccines and reasons why.

              The goals were (1) to obtain national estimates of the proportions of parents with indicators of vaccine doubt, (2) to identify factors associated with those parents, compared with parents reporting no vaccine doubt indicators, (3) to identify the specific vaccines that prompted doubt and the reasons why, and (4) to describe the main reasons parents changed their minds about delaying or refusing a vaccine for their child. Data were from the National Immunization Survey (2003-2004). Groups included parents who ever got a vaccination for their child although they were not sure it was the best thing to do ("unsure"), delayed a vaccination for their child ("delayed"), or decided not to have their child get a vaccination ("refused"). A total of 3924 interviews were completed. Response rates were 57.9% in 2003 and 65.0% in 2004. Twenty-eight percent of parents responded yes to ever experiencing >or=1 of the outcome measures listed above. In separate analyses for each outcome measure, vaccine safety concern was a predictor for unsure, refused, and delayed parents. The largest proportions of unsure and refused parents chose varicella vaccine as the vaccine prompting their concern, whereas delayed parents most often reported "not a specific vaccine" as the vaccine prompting their concern. Most parents who delayed vaccines for their child did so for reasons related to their child's illness, unlike the unsure and refused parents. The largest proportion of parents who changed their minds about delaying or not getting a vaccination for their child listed "information or assurances from health care provider" as the main reason. Parents who exhibit doubts about immunizations are not all the same. This research suggests encouraging children's health care providers to solicit questions about vaccines, to establish a trusting relationship, and to provide appropriate educational materials to parents.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Social Science & Medicine
                Social Science & Medicine
                Elsevier BV
                02779536
                July 2014
                July 2014
                : 112
                : 1-11
                Article
                10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.04.018
                24788111
                17acbb21-55d6-4022-91b8-c8be763b7e65
                © 2014

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