Open Communication Between Doctors and Parents May Help Encourage Vaccination Among Children

By Camille H, Parent Herald November 05, 10:45 am
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Parents' acceptance of parental vaccine is closely associated with how providers and physicians communicate vaccine recommendations, according to Doctors Lounge.

The researchers involved in the study recorded 16 physicians and nurse practitioners in 111 conversations about vaccines with patients. Some of these records were between family members who were resistant to vaccinating their children aged 1 to 19 months at the time of the study.

Results of the study published in Pediatrics found that the way in which healthcare providers approached the subject of vaccination was directly associated with the level of acceptance of vaccinations among parents, according to the LA Times. Douglas J. Opel, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and his colleagues conducted a cross-sectional observational study that characterized provider-parent vaccine communication. They found that 74 percent of providers initiated vaccine recommendations with presumptive communication rather than participatory formats.

Likely, more than 41 percent of parents who expressed their resistance to provider initiation were VHPs than non-VHPs. Resisting vaccine recommendations also increased significantly if the provider used a participatory initiation format versus a presumptive initiation format. "Whether shared decision-making is appropriate in childhood vaccine discussions is likely central to the existing disagreement among pediatricians regarding the appropriateness of dismissing families for refusing vaccines," said the study author.

The rate of vaccination among children aged 19 months to 35 months for polio, measles-mumps-rubella, hepatitis B and tetanus is at below 80 percent. The federal Healthy People 2020 initiative is aiming to increase this number. Rates of nonmedical exemptions for vaccinations needed for a child to go to school are also increasing yearly, the researchers confirmed. 

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