Dr Wardle to provide tailored medical information to encourage “vaccine hesitant” parents to vaccinate their children
ARCCIM’s Dr Jon Wardle is leading a ground-breaking research program to improve the way vaccination information is given to parents, amid an increasing shift towards unorthodox health practices which are not in line with the best available medical evidence.
The program, funded by a recent NHMRC Fellowship, focuses on developing strategies to improve vaccination information to vaccine hesitant parents, as well as exploring why people choose to reject sound clinical management in favour of unorthodox, unproven and often unsafe health practices.
“Immunisation has unequivocally been one of the most successful public health measures of the last century, yet more and more parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children,” Dr Wardle said.
“There is complacency among many public health and medical professionals due to the position that the benefits of vaccination and immunisation should be obvious to any reasonable or rational observer”.
Dr Wardle continued “When parents want more information, they often turn to informal information sources like the internet. These sources are often better at communicating in an emotionally engaging and respectful way with parents, but often promote misinformation or an anti-vaccine agenda”.
Dr Wardle suggested that by tailoring vaccine information to specific vaccine-hesitant groups – most of whom are not anti-vaccine genuinely fence-sitters on this issue – more parents may be convinced of the benefits of vaccination.
“The arguments for childhood vaccination are compelling, and the arguments against it underwhelming. But the case for vaccination is not always communicated in an effective manner that is tailored to parental concerns”.
“Part of the solution then is for public health agencies, primary care organisations and primary care providers to speak with a more convincing voice on this topic.”
Dr Wardle’s Fellowship will be focused on developing vaccination resources that are specifically tailored to vaccine-hesitant groups, including parents following natural health philosophies.