Resources to help you
On this page you will find further reading about why people are vaccine-hesitant, guidance on how to have conversations about vaccines and data about the effectiveness of vaccination as a public health programme.
There are also some downloadable products which you might want to have in your practice when you are doing vaccinations to help spread the message.
Whilst a small number of people are virulently anti-vaccination, the vast majority of “hesitant” people are just concerned parents.
They may have heard some of the more lurid stories, and most likely seen them amplified on social media, but at heart they just want their children to be safe.
There is good evidence that those who are likely to be hesitant will decision on vaccination in the last third of the pregnancy. So try to introduce information about vaccinations during regular check ups during the pregnancy.
If doubts are expressed, schedule some time to talk about this specifically so they can see it is a serious issue.
Recognise that they have a genuine concern. Don’t belittle it or dismiss it.
But you are a medical professional. They will trust your judgement. And unlike the “anti-vaxers”, you took the Hypocratic Oath and operate on the basis of first, doing no harm.
Assuming you have them, tell them that you got your own kids vaccinated because you know it is the best way to keep them safe and keep the community safe.
There is also evidence that trying to scare parents about the dangers of a disease doesn’t really work. It just makes them scared about everything including vaccines.
It is better to use data to show how vaccinating a child is a far less risky option than not vaccinating them. For example, before vaccination about 2,000 children under ten died in the UK every year from Measles. Today, on average only one child will suffer serious side-effects. (Actually, statistically it is less than one.)
Are you keen to run your own campaign to boost vaccine take up?
We can help you design bespoke literature, use social media to identify and target the communities you most need to reach and provide you with tailored messaging to make your campaign as impactful as possible.
We have listed below links to some of the academic research on vaccines, their effectiveness, the effectiveness of messages and other sites where there is good information that you might find useful.
National Archives statistics on causes of death 20th Century – https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160111174808/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-215593
Statistics on Vaccine take-up
Facts and Figures US death comparisons pre and post vaccines
(Mostly for health professionals)
UK Government page on Immunisation – https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immunisation
NICE Guidance on Immunisations: reducing differences in uptake in under 19s
NHS vaccinations page – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/nhs-vaccinations-and-when-to-have-them/
Oxford University Vaccine Knowledge Page – https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/vaccine-safety
Royal College of Pediatrichians and Child Health – https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/vaccination-uk-position-statement#key-messages-for-health-professionals
Action to counter hesitancy in particular communities
Tower Hamlets Somali Community
US research on who opposes Vaccination
Framing of messaging
YouTube Video from the SciShow on why people think like they do
Educating sceptics on the consequences of not vaccinating helped reduce hesitancy
Countering conspiracy theories with rational argument
Interesting other websites