Development of safe and effective vaccines is one the greatest medical triumphs. However, despite high immunization rates in the United States, 85% of health care providers (HCPs) will have a parent refuse a vaccine for his or her child each year. HCPs have the greatest influence on a parent's decision to vaccinate his or her child. To effectively communicate with vaccine-hesitant parents, HCPs must first understand the concerns of parents regarding immunization and understand influences that can lead to misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. HCPs should establish an open, nonconfrontational dialogue with vaccine-hesitant parents at an early stage and provide unambiguous, easily comprehensible answers about known vaccine adverse events and provide accurate information about vaccination. Personal stories and visual images of patients and parents affected by vaccine-preventable diseases and reports of disease outbreaks serve as useful reminders of the need to maintain high immunization rates. Ongoing dialogue including provider recommendations may successfully reassure vaccine-hesitant parents that immunization is the best and safest option for their child.
- Accepted November 29, 2010.
- Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics