counseling

Counseling & Coaching

You can thrive. We can help.

  • New research shows that we can reduce vaccine hesitancy by introducing the hesitant individual to someone with a vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Researchers sought to understand how we can change anti-vaccine attitudes due to a recent rise in vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccine hesitancy.
  • The experimented with 574 college students, 83 of which were vaccine-hesitant; half of these students interviewed an individual with a vaccine-preventable disease, while the other half interviewed an individual with an auto-immune disease.
  • Additionally, some participants learned about immune and vaccine-related diseases in class, while others did not.
  • The researchers found that nearly 70% of individuals who interviewed someone with a vaccine-preventable disease changed from vaccine-hesitant to pro-vaccine.
  • Additionally, 75% of vaccine-hesitant students had improved attitudes toward vaccines by the end of the study and 50% of them became fully pro-vaccine.

Quick Summary

A new study “Combatting Vaccine Hesitancy with Vaccine-Preventable Disease Familiarization: An Interview and Curriculum Intervention for College Students” says that we can reduce vaccine hesitancy by introducing the hesitant individual to someone with a vaccine-preventable disease, and in turn combat anti-vaccine efforts. Researchers found that approximately 70% of study participants who were introduced to someone with a vaccine-preventable disease went from anti-vaccine or hesitant to pro-vaccine.

Goals

In recent months, there has been an increase in previously eradicated diseases in the US, including measles. In fact, 880 cases of measles were confirmed across the country, since January, which is more than the US has seen since 1994. This significant increase in measles, a preventable disease, is attributed to the rise of anti-vaccine Americans—or those who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their kids.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) included vaccine hesitancy in its top 10 threats to global health. The researchers from Brigham Young University sought to understand how we can encourage anti-vaxxers to change their minds and support vaccinations, so as to reduce the abundance of preventable diseases.

Investigation

Researchers conducted an experiment with 574 college students in the city of Provo, which ranks sixth in the country for under-vaccinated kindergartners. Of these students, 491 were pro-vaccine, while 83 were vaccine-hesitant. Half of them were tasked with interviewing an individual who suffered with a vaccine-preventable disease, while the remaining participants were tasked with interviewing someone with an auto-immune disease (serving as the control group). Additionally, select participants attended classes about immune and vaccine-related diseases, while others attended classes that did not teach vaccine curriculum.

Results

The research team found that almost 70% of students who interviewed an individual with a vaccine-preventable disease changed their views on vaccines: they changed from vaccine-hesitant to pro-vaccine, even those who didn’t attend classes about immune and vaccine-related diseases. The testimonials were enough. Furthermore, 75% of vaccine-hesitant students had improved attitudes toward vaccines by the end of the study and 50% of them became fully pro-vaccine.

Implications

These findings show that if we want to change people’s opinions and decisions regarding vaccines, an effective approach is introducing them to someone who has had to deal with a vaccine-preventable disease. It demonstrates the serious struggle that comes with managing these diseases.

Limitations

  • The participants in this study were all college students. Would this study yield the same findings if other age groups were involved?

Source:

Johnson, D. K., Mello, E. J., et al (2019, May 12). Combating Vaccine Hesitancy with Vaccine-Preventable Disease Familiarization: An Interview and Curriculum Intervention for College Students. Vaccines. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/7/2/39/htm

 

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Interested in writing for us?


Read our guidelines
Share This