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Posts Tagged ‘vaccination decisions’

Talking About Immunizations Positively and With Purpose

March 14, 2014 4 comments

We often hear the claim that the public is growing increasingly anxious about the safety of childhood vaccinations.  We’re even told that this is leading parents to refrain from getting their children immunized.  waitingroom

But how can do we know this for sure?  

Fortunately, in an effort to understand the public’s vaccine perceptions, social scientists are beginning to look at these questions in the same way that we investigate vaccine safety and efficacy.  Through research.

Last month an interesting report was released entitled Vaccine Risk Perceptions and Ad Hoc Risk Communication: An Empirical Assessment.  It detailed two principal findings:

“First, that vaccine risks are neither a matter of concern for the vast majority of the public nor an issue of contention among recognizable demographic, political, or cultural subgroups; and second, that ad hoc forms of risk communication that assert there is mounting resistance to childhood immunizations themselves pose a risk of creating misimpressions and arousing sensibilities that could culturally polarize the public and diminish motivation to cooperate with universal vaccination programs.”

In other words, the majority of people are not focused on vaccine risks, and by repeatedly stating that there is mounting resistance to vaccines we’re possibly doing more to damage the public’s risk perception than to improve it.

This is an interesting report to consider because it can directly influence the way in which we talk about immunizations.  The findings suggest that government agencies, public health professionals, and other constituents of the public health establishment should evaluate their messaging to Read more…

Choosing Vaccination For Your Child Is An Informed Decision

January 27, 2012 35 comments

When it comes to issues regarding disease prevention, our choices impact our children now and throughout their adult life.  Whether we choose to vaccinate our children or not, or delay certain vaccines or not, we are making decisions that have consequences.

A child who falls ill with a vaccine preventable disease may end up just fine.  However, others will have to endure permanent health problems.  And still others will suffer and die, like the many whose stories appear on sites like Vaccinate Your Baby and Shot by Shot.

Earlier this week a comment on the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page that made me think about the challenges parents face.  A concerned mother, seeking guidance states:

“I have a 28 month old son and have been delaying and selectively vaccinating. I am looking for a neutral page where I can find information to help me make decisions about what vaccines to get. This page appears to be a page that will deliver only one side of the story. Where can I go to get information both positive and negative about vaccinating? I am faced with some decisions very soon and wish to make an informed decision. I have read some information about vaccines, but not enough to be comfortable just yet.”

I have heard these sentiments echoed time and time again.  When faced with uncertainty, parents often delay or selectively vaccinate until they can feel more comfortable with the idea.  While I understand this rationale on an emotional level, I believe that parents must begin by understanding the importance of research, science and statistics in order to make an informed decision.  In other words, it’s not that parents should look for a “neutral page”, as this mother suggests, but more importantly, an accurate one that uses scientific evidence to support their recommendations. Read more…

Parents Speak Out in Support of Immunization

December 28, 2011 1 comment

While we all make personal decisions regarding how we will raise our children, it’s also understandable that we often seek the support, as well as the advice of others to help us in formulating our decisions.  Whether those decisions revolve around childbirth, nutrition choices, sleeping tactics, discipline techniques, or even vaccination, parents are often eager to find a community that is supportive of their choices and that can help them to navigate the many challenges of parenthood.  Perhaps that is why one of our most popular posts from 2011 explored the concept of “attachment parenting” and how these philosophies relate to immunization decisions.  

Back in May, I observed a conversation that occurred among several parents on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page.  While I was encouraged to hear these parents relating to each other in a very personal way, I was also concerned that their decisions to vaccinate their children were eliciting such criticism among the various parenting groups that they had been participated in.   I wrote the blog post below to highlight the concerning trend of vaccination refusal among parents who practice attachment parenting. Since then, this particular group of concerned parents has created a growing support network of their own.  Ultimately, their common concerns have united them in a way that now enables them to support one another and stand strongly behind their convictions that immunizations offer good health for their communities. 

I hope our new readers will appreciate this blog post and understand that part of our mission here is to provide a forum for parents to discuss accurate, science-based immunization information. On our  Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, parents continue to connect with others who support immunization and discuss current immunization news. 

When Did “Attachment Parenting” Come to Mean Vaccine Refusal?

Our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page is not only a place for people to connect, it has also become a place for people to take action.   This diverse community – of over 20,000 “friends” – consists of parents, concerned citizens, health care providers and public health advocates who want to stay informed and educated regarding immunization news.  We are proud to announce that several of our members have even established a new pro-vax parenting group called “Wear ‘em, nurse ‘em, and vax ‘em, too!” as a result of connecting through our page.

During the course of their online discussions, our Facebook friends often share their personal opinions and experiences with one another.  In one scenario, we were concerned to hear that parents were being ostracized from a well-known parenting support group as a result of immunizing their children.  Each of the women involved in the discussion had been committed to a style of parenting referred to as “attachment parenting”.  Some of the child rearing behaviors commonly encouraged by Attachment Parenting International (API) include breastfeeding, babywearing and co-sleeping, among many others.

According to the API website their philosophy is about “forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children”.  Their mission statement is to “educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.”

While no one was arguing that this is an admirable mission, these parents were concerned about the  anti-vaccine influences that have become prevalent in the local API support groups.  Even though these women were dedicated to the principles of API, they were chastised at local meetings based on their pro-vaccination views.

(Click here to continue reading one of our most popular posts from 2011.)