Twenty percent of Canadian parents have concerns about immunizations, or delay or refuse vaccines, and the goal of CPS is to lower this number through education. The Internet, traditional media and celebrities have led to an increase in the negative perception parents have of vaccines. It’s been noted that even 5-10 minutes on an anti-vaccine website can seriously change parents’ perception of vaccine risks.
Dr. Noni MacDonald is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at IWK Health Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia and co-authored the new CPS practice point. “Since immunization is one of the most important preventative health measures, literally responsible for saving millions of lives, addressing the concerns of vaccine hesitant parents has to be a priority for health care providers,” she states.
CPS notes that health care providers’ advice is a major influence on parental decisions, and recommends that health care providers take the time to understand parents vaccine related concerns. The proactive approach of listening to parents, building trust and addressing concerns will remedy misconceptions and lead to a higher vaccination rate.
Dr. Jane Finlay is a member of the CPS Infectious Disease and Immunization Committee and co-author of the new practice point. “It’s important to reassure parents that vaccines are safe and effective, and to explain that if they decide not to vaccinate, they’re exposing their child and entire family to risk. Because of vaccination, today’s generation of parents haven’t seen diseases like measles or meningitis, so it’s important they understand these are still a very real threat,” she states.
Vaccine Watch urges all parents with concerns about vaccines to talk with their child’s pediatrician about the risks and benefits of vaccination.