A shift from focusing about the risks of vaccinations (few and low) to the ramifications of NOT getting vaccinations (illness and possibly death), resulted in a meaningful effect on opinions.
Horne, and his psychology professor Dr. John Hummel, collaborated on the study with findings that were published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“We found that directing people’s attention to the risks posed by not getting vaccinated, like getting measles, mumps and rubella, and the complications associated with those diseases, changed people’s attitudes positively towards vaccination – and that was for even the most skeptical participants in the study,” Horne noted.“Actually, the largest effect sizes were for people who were most skeptical,” he said.
This makes sense. The parents are rightly concerned for their kids. They have been bathed in fear mongering from anti-vaccine sources about how “dangerous” vaccines are. This is outright false in for many of their claims, such as autism, and greatly exaggerated in other claims such as a potential reaction to the vaccine. For vaccines, the huge benefits far outweigh the tiny risks. Doctors must hammer home that message. So, reminding parents just how terrible pertussis, measles, mumps, even chicken pox and the flu are for kids is reasonably effective at making them take notice.
The article notes that this won’t work on parents stubbornly committed to anti-vax arguments. The internet has made sure they are well supplied with scary-sounding information to use against scientific findings. But this is a way forward that will improve overall vaccination uptake, which is great.
If anyone has read the published study, please provide your take in the comments in case we missed anything.