Extolling the safety and benefits of childhood vaccinations may only serve to strengthen and entrench the positions of those philosophically opposed to them, says new research led by University of Toronto scientists.
"Changing attitudes about pediatric vaccination can be challenging," says Dr. Kumanan Wilson, professor of medicine and health policy, management and evaluation at U of T, internal medicine physician at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, and lead author of the research. "Some parents have strongly held beliefs about the safety and benefits of vaccines and any attempts to try to change their minds may only strengthen their anti-vaccine sentiments."
Wilson and his colleagues from U of T and McMaster University sought to test the attitudes of people known to have views not supportive of vaccination. They randomly divided 97 participants into two study groups. One group received an evidence-based lecture on the benefits of polio vaccine while the other received a talk by a polio survivor. Participants completed surveys about their attitudes to vaccines before and after the presentations. "Before" surveys confirmed the researchers’ initial hypothesis – these participants were generally non-supportive of vaccines with only nine per cent saying they would recommend the polio vaccine and six per cent saying they would recommend the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
Janet Wong | EurekAlert!
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