The PolicyLab and the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently released an Evidence to Action brief titled “Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy to Protect Children and Communities Against Preventable Diseases.” The brief included a review of vaccine hesitancy, identification of three areas of concern, and a series of recommendations to address the concerns.
The areas of concern include:
- Diminished prioritization — delayed immunizations resulting from lack of experience with diseases being prevented and convenience factors and barriers related to access or philosophical beliefs or concerns.
- Lack of confidence in vaccine safety and efficacy — resistance to immunizations based on misinformation that is perpetrated in the media and online. Difficulty reversing misconceptions also contributes to this area of concern.
- Inadequate state policies — nonmedical exemptions and pockets of noncompliance lead to regions or areas of increased susceptibility and decreased herd immunity.
Recommendations focused on three areas of action related to healthcare provider recommendations, vaccine mandates and education.
Strategies related to providers focused on strengthening of vaccine recommendations, including:
- Increased emphasis on training about vaccine safety, efficacy and communication at all career levels
- Having obstetricians counsel expectant moms about the importance of following the recommended immunization schedule
- Decreased use and acceptance of requests for alternate vaccination schedules by providers
- Requirements for use of immunization information systems (IIS)
- Improved reimbursement for providers of vaccination services
Vaccine mandates should be strengthened and enforced by:
- Eliminating nonmedical exemptions for both public and private schools
- Increasing rigor of the exemption process
- Establishing fees for nonmedical vaccine exemptions to cover costs to society
Suggested actions related to education and awareness included:
- Implementation of public awareness campaigns
- Use of health insurance incentives based on vaccination status
- Promotion of school-based health clinics as vaccination providers
- Increased opportunities for pharmacists to vaccinate patients of all ages
Watch a webinar discussing the brief featuring Dr. Kristen Feemster, senior author of the brief and Director of Research for the Vaccine Education Center, and Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center.
View or download the complete brief or read the supporting blog post. A social media toolkit is also available.