Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Science

Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots 482

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-win-for-losing dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Thomas Kienzle reports for the Associated Press on a study which found public health campaigns touting vaccines' effectiveness and debunking the links between autism and other health risks might actually be backfiring, and convincing parents to skip the shots for their kids. 'Corrections of misperceptions about controversial issues like vaccines may be counterproductive in some populations,' says Dr. Brendan Nyhan. 'The best response to false beliefs is not necessarily providing correct information.' In the study, researchers focused on the now-debunked idea that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (or MMR) caused autism. Surveying 1,759 parents, researchers found that while they were able to teach parents that the vaccine and autism were not linked, parents who were surveyed who had initial reservations about vaccines said they were actually less likely to vaccinate their children after hearing the researchers messages. Researchers looked at four methods designed to counter the myth (PDF) that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. They gave people either information from health authorities about the lack of evidence for a connection, information about the danger of the three diseases the MMR vaccine protects against, pictures of children who had one of those three diseases, or a story about an infant who almost died from measles.

At the study's start, the group of parents who were most opposed to vaccination said that on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child against MMR was 70 percent. After these parents had been given information that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, they said, on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child was only 45 percent — even though they also said they were now less likely to believe the vaccine could cause autism. Vaccination rates are currently high, so it's important that any strategies should focus on retaining these numbers and not raise more concerns, tipping parents who are willing to vaccinate away from doing so. 'We shouldn't put too much weight on the idea that there's some magic message out there that will change people's minds.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots

Comments Filter:
  • You would hope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobstreo (1320787) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @03:49PM (#46400019)

    This recessive gene would be removed from the gene pool in one or two iterations of viral infections.

    • You would be wrong. If human stupidity were truly genetic, that would still be an easy answer that ignores things like herd immunity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually this knowledge is counter to evolution. Our evolution has shaped the survival mind to trust only your self and those extremely close to you and be extremely wary of others.

      Pro-vaccination messages should really pursue the "trust" model, and get commuity leaders, churches, womens magazines etc to all join in the discussion and focus on the positive only. Don't even mention all the false autism links etc...

      • Re:You would hope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by skids (119237) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @05:09PM (#46401069) Homepage

        Been saying it for a while: many, many people have lost any and all trust in establishmentarianism, even when some of them simultaneously cling to strange authoritative belief systems, and as the "Information Age" progresses this is extending to a fundamental mistrust of well presented information. Mainly because liars are some of the best presenters out there.

        Every single ethics violation by established corporations, professionals, professional organizations, media, and other would-be pillars of the community has long lasting and far reaching effects, damaging our aggregate level of trust in those who actually deserve to be trusted. The damage is probably partially offset by trusting even fewer of those who don't deserve it, but overall my instinct is it is corrosive since trust plays such an important role in all things economic and communal.

    • Unfortunately vaccinating less affects the rest of the herd and not just them.
  • Education (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    People need to be educated in a general sense to evaluate this stuff rationally. If you take a bunch of uneducated redneck hicks and have an authority figure tell them how it should be they're going to be suspicious because they don't have the tools to evaluate the claims and for most of their life authority figures have FUCKED them.

    • In other words, people are fucking morons.

      • Re:Education (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blackbeak (1227080) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:35PM (#46400607)

        In other words, people are fucking morons.

        “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” --- Dr. Marcia Angell (Harvard Medical School)

        Apparently those untrusting "fucking morons" are in very good company.

    • Read Tres Roeder's "A Sixth Sense for Project Management" and get back to me.

    • Re:Education (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:33PM (#46400575)

      People need to be educated in a general sense to evaluate this stuff rationally. If you take a bunch of uneducated redneck hicks and have an authority figure tell them how it should be they're going to be suspicious because they don't have the tools to evaluate the claims and for most of their life authority figures have FUCKED them.

      And yet..., they will still vote for those same authority figures who simply tell them what they want to hear.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Tell them that the gubmint says "DON'T VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN!!!1!"

    • Re:Education (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @06:27PM (#46402133) Homepage Journal

      Well,I think you're onto something, although it's certainly not the case that anti-vaccination ideology is confined to "uneducated redneck hicks". It is rampant among educated, middle class people too who *do* have the tools to evaluate claims. They just don't have the inclination to use those tools. I know because I have a niece who is an anti-vaccine crusader; she's always posting links to anti-vaccine screeds on Facebook, only to get knocked down by all her science geek aunties and uncles. She is not an ignorant, uneducated moron. She is an intelligent, accomplished and educated suburban mom who just happens to be off her rocker about this one thing.

      The problem, I think, is that anti-vaccine hysteria actually arises out a healthy impulse: distrust of authority. We've raised a generation on tales of the Tuskeegee experiment, of bungled CIA actions in Iran, of government leaders' deceptions about the course of the Vietnam war. But the line between healthy distrust and paranoia is often fuzzy. In attempting to raise a generation of healthy skeptics, we've also made paranoia respectable.

      This explains the counter-intuitive result in the study. Convincing people to distrust anti-vaccine information doesn't make them trust their doctors or public health authorities. It makes them distrust everyone. And some of the mud probably still sticks. Here's where knowing what the anti-vaccine crowd is saying helps. They've moved well beyond the autism thing; their message has two prongs: "vaccines aren't as effective as claimed" and "vaccines put children at risk for a wide spectrum of harms".

      Finally there's another misunderstood aspect about who these people are. They've been raised to admire crusaders like Dr. King who stood up against authority figures, and they've been taught to emulate them. We've raised them to be firm and determined in their convictions, even the face of ridicule and condemnation. But that attitude of Emersonian self-reliance has a dark side: it's very hard to change your mind once you've donned your crusader surcoat and drawn your greatsword.

      So the idea that these people are anti-vaccine crusaders *because* they're contemptible is wrong. These people are attempting to do something heroic. In other circumstances they *would* be heroic. The problem with self-righteousness is that it feels *exactly the same* as righteousness.

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @03:58PM (#46400115) Journal
    This study basically says that people get pissy when you prove them wrong, making them dig in their heels even though they may grudgingly agree with you.

    That bit of information reduces the problem to a much, much easier one to deal with than the previous hypothesis of willful ignorance - These people just need us to give them a way to save face.

    Disclaimer - I write what I write next as someone who loathes government intervention. But just make vaccinations mandatory. Simple as that. No more BS opting out on religious grounds, no more opting out because Jenny said not to, no more trusting in herd immunity while actively undermining it. Get your kids vaccinated, period, end of story; don't like it, too bad.

    That way, no one needs to "back down" - Parents can gleefully shrug their shoulders, swear at Uncle Sam while quietly breathing a sigh of relief, and we can all move on as though none of this ever happened.
    • by the gnat (153162) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:09PM (#46400267)

      But just make vaccinations mandatory. Simple as that. No more BS opting out on religious grounds, no more opting out because Jenny said not to, no more trusting in herd immunity while actively undermining it. Get your kids vaccinated, period, end of story; don't like it, too bad.

      There will always be valid exceptions. Some people (immune-compromised, usually) simply can't handle vaccination - it really would kill them. This is a recognized problem for which there is no solution. And which vaccines should be required? I happen to think that immunization against HPV is a good idea, but you can't get HPV because the kid next to you didn't cover his mouth when he sneezed.

      There is historical precedent for your proposal, however: this is what was done with smallpox, which is why no one has caught smallpox since before I was born. But smallpox makes measles look like a mild cold in comparison.

      • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @05:22PM (#46401263) Homepage

        But just make vaccinations mandatory. Simple as that. No more BS opting out on religious grounds, no more opting out because Jenny said not to, no more trusting in herd immunity while actively undermining it. Get your kids vaccinated, period, end of story; don't like it, too bad.

        There will always be valid exceptions. Some people (immune-compromised, usually) simply can't handle vaccination - it really would kill them. This is a recognized problem for which there is no solution.

        Actually, there is a well-understood solution. Just make the vaccines mandatory, and provide exceptions based on the medical judgement of a doctor (who is liable if their error results in harm).

        The kids who can't get vaccines are much better off if all the kids around them are vaccinated.

        Instead today we let everybody opt-out, and the kid who can't get a vaccine for medical reasons ends up catching whooping cough from somebody who could have been vaccinated without incident.

      • by ericloewe (2129490) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @05:24PM (#46401271)

        Easy: Make a vaccination plan.

        In Europe, that's what happens. Guess what? Every time you sign up for something involving lots of people, you may be asked for proof that you were actually vaccinated (or could not be for valid medical reasons).

        Some stuff is absolutely mandatory, for good reason. Some stuff can be bought at a pharmacy if required (Malaria for instance, isn't really a problem unless you travel to Africa) and is thus optional.

        Problem solved.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      But just make vaccinations mandatory

      Devil's advocate: What part of the United States Constitution (or even the Constitution of one of the 50 States) authorizes the Government to compel vaccination? It's "compelled" through requirements to vaccinate your children before they can attend public school, which has passed muster, but an outright mandate absent no other interaction with the State? Where does such authority come from?

      No more BS opting out on religious grounds

      That wouldn't pass Constitutional muster even if you can find authority to mandate vaccinations.

      A far more effecti

      • by Electrawn (321224) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (nwartcele)> on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:23PM (#46400417) Homepage

        Compelled vaccination would fall under implied power. Random fact of the day: ICE's jurisdiction is an implied power.

        Here are the relevant parts of the constitution:
        "Implied powers are which can reasonably be assumed to flow from express powers, though not explicitly mentioned. The legitimacy of these powers flows from the "General Welfare" clause in the Preamble, the "Necessary & Proper Clause", and the "Commerce Clause." " (Quote from Wikipedia)

      • by profplump (309017)

        What part of the constitution allows parents to compel their children not to get vaccinated (or to get vaccinated, for that matter)? If we're going to talk about this in terms of individual freedom, shouldn't we consider the individuals actually affected?

        • by mysidia (191772)

          What part of the constitution allows parents to compel their children not to get vaccinated

          If the parents didn't compel them; then very likely, few or no children would get vaccinated, just due to the pain of being poked by a needle.

          But the children are minors, that is: not recognized as sovereign individuals --- instead, the parents are custodians of their health and well-being, and therefore --- the parents have the right to make the decisions that the child is not capable of responsibly making.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        It's "compelled" through requirements to vaccinate your children before they can attend public school, which has passed muster, but an outright mandate absent no other interaction with the State? Where does such authority come from?

        OK... fine... you prove that you've been vaccinated against Measles, Polio, and other contagions once every 15 years, and you get a golden sticker attached to your arm, or a little rice-grain sized RFID tag implanted, linking to your database ID that proves that you are

      • Anyone's right to religious freedom stops where it intersects the public good, especially in terms of health. Your right to swing your arm stops at anyone's nose, right? Likewise, religious freedom. Cannibals won't be allowed to eat their neighbors, despite religious affiliation.
    • by houghi (78078)

      As good as mandatory vacinations would be, there will be people who would make this political. This because it isn't about what is right, but about not letting the other get what they want.

    • Mandatory? Fascism much?

      • Mandatory? Fascism much?

        Uh, no.

        It isn't "fascism" to say your unvaccinated-child may not infect my too-young-to-be-vaccinated child with a preventable disease and risk his life/kill him. In general, your "freedom" to choose an activity end at the point that you're harming another person.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      You do need exceptions on medical grounds, though - people with a compromised immune system can't handle the vaccine. But once you have one set of exceptions, it's really hard not to provide exceptions on religious grounds, because religion has gotten so many exceptions for so many things.

      Even if you did get it limited to "can only be unvaccinated on a doctor's orders", there's plenty of doctors who can be persuaded to bend the rules - look at the rates of approval for medical marijuana in states where medi

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:34PM (#46400589)

      This study basically says that people get pissy when you prove them wrong, making them dig in their heels even though they may grudgingly agree with you.

      Nope. It says that teaching the controvery proves there is a controversy. If there wasn't, why are you trying so hard to tell me what I should do?

    • by ChilyWily (162187)
      And if my child got permanently disabled (H1N1 Vaccine Tied to Spike in Narcolepsy - http://www.medpagetoday.com/In... [medpagetoday.com]), then what do I do?

      Note, I am all for vaccinations, but in today's world, I'm increasingly cautious because governments health agencies don't do their jobs in proper science or oversight...
      • by the gnat (153162)

        governments health agencies don't do their jobs in proper science or oversight

        Government health agencies like the FDA have a very difficult job. For every person complaining that they're in bed with industry and allow dangerous medications to kill people, there's someone else - usually either a "patient's rights" advocate or an especially dogmatic libertarian - complaining that they're withholding lifesaving medications and therefore killing people. It's also extremely difficult to identify every possible

      • the same thing that you would do if you don't vaccinate and your kid gets measles and ends up permanently deaf, in the end it's about probabilities, the probability of measles having bad side effects seems a LOT higher than the probability of vaccines having bad side effects, ergo it should be obvious what to do.

        This said people are not rational, the odds of getting run over crossing the street are much higher than a lot of other events people worry way more about...

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @03:59PM (#46400139)
    The more effort you put into telling people something is safe and the more visible this effort is, the more people will naturally question just why they're having to make this effort.

    When you order a burger from McDonalds you probably wouldn't be too happy if worker who gives it to you said "don't worry, the chances of you having got a burger that has been spat on are tiny so it is very unlikely I spat in it! Enjoy your meal!"
    • Just like no matter how much evidence exists that President Obama was born in Hawaii idiots like Donald Trump will insist that he now has new evidence to the contrary. Some people will be believe a lie because they have so much invested in the lie.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:02PM (#46400177)

    Jenny McCarthy needs to be impoverished and imprisoned for the huge disservice she has done the human race.

  • They claim the skeptics are just crazy, but then things like this (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/02/the-return-of-whooping-cough.html ) happen.

    I am not anti-vaccine, but I am cautious around people profess to "practice" on me and think everything can be solved with a pill or needle. For example, I think there is a problem with our healthcare system when we end up as a nation (USA) consuming 80% of all painkillers prescribed worldwide.

    • For example, I think there is a problem with our healthcare system when we end up as a nation (USA) consuming 80% of all painkillers prescribed worldwide

      Painkillers are a social addiction problem, not a healthcare problem.

      .
      In order to solve a problem, you first must identify it accurately.

    • by number17 (952777)

      I think there is a problem with our healthcare system when we end up as a nation (USA) consuming 80% of all painkillers prescribed worldwide.

      You have a healthcare system that runs on profit and kickbacks. Creating a happy pill is cost-effective, compared to other treatments, and can rake in the money with a generous markup.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:13PM (#46400317) Journal

    I believe that one factor (don't have any idea how significant) may be that recent revelations entirely unrelated to vaccines have caused an increased suspicion amongst the population about anything the government tells us. It's become almost a meme that whatever the government says, the opposite is likely to be true.

    (I'm not saying that's actually the case, just saying that may be what people are feeling.)

  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:14PM (#46400323)
    Doesn't saying that just give you a warm fuzzy about hiring me as a babysitter?
    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      Better than the alternative, though one would kind of have to admire the second guy for his forthrightness. ;)

  • They gave people either information from health authorities about the lack of evidence for a connection, information about the danger of the three diseases the MMR vaccine protects against, pictures of children who had one of those three diseases, or a story about an infant who almost died from measles.

    What if people were given some combination of the above information? For example, connection information and picture of children with the disease. The outcome might be different than either information alone. Given alone "connection information" may be detrimental but combined with other information it may be beneficial. All this study shows is that relying on the lack of evidence of connection alone is incorrect.

    I would have liked to see the effect of giving a group all the information. I realize we are no

  • People are generally not rational in the classic economic sense. Not even close.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:26PM (#46400455) Homepage Journal

    That stupid bitch.

  • You cannot convince people who do not want to be convinced, no matter how valid the scientific evidence.

    .
    It is far easier to remain ignorant and wallow in your collection of misinformation, than to understand the scientific evidence.

    Normally, I don't have an issue with ignorant people choosing to remain ignorant. Unfortunately, in this instance it means more disease for all of us.

  • ... my "people are idiots" theory.
    Can we just take all the anti-vaccine people and put them on an island, and wait for them to die out? Antarctica is a research area, right?
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:28PM (#46400493)

    People do not trust science. They are more apt to believe that the numbers are made up fill some agenda.
    On the Right you got them having issues with Climate change and evolution. They see it as fake science made by their opponents to force their agenda of taking things away from people and a push towards atheism, figure with "God" out of the way they can push their agenda with impunity.

    On the left you have GMO food, and non-organics food. All the science points that there isn't any danger to these foods, however they will stick to their guns as the science is obviously have been altered by corporations as to keep their profit up.

    In short if you tell someone that they are wrong, that means you are part of some conspiracy to hide the truth.

    • In short if you tell someone that they are wrong, that means you are part of some conspiracy to hide the truth.

      And if you provide supporting evidence of your point, that's obviously part of the scam too; I mean, if you were right you wouldn't need it. Whereas if there's no evidence of a conspiracy, that's proof that there's a cover-up.

  • Everyone else can ignore this issue... unless you live in an area prone to insane viral outbreaks every other week.

  • You can win with morons. If you don't debunk the whole autism thing, parents won't get their kids vaccinated. If you do debunk it, they decide that they can't trust the scientists and they don't get their kids vaccinated. Does any other developed country have to deal with this kind of idiocy or is it unique to the USA?
    • In Belgium certain vaccinations are mandatory. Well they aren't mandatory as such, but your kids won't be able to go to daycare, school, sports clubs etc. without them.

  • We need to stop telling parents that they need to make a "informed decision" and instead drive in the message that getting their children vaccinated is absolutely necessary to protect their life and well being. Posing it as a decision simply provides an opening for anti-vaccine quacks to employ their fear-mongering and to many fear is more powerful than the truth.
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @05:18PM (#46401201) Homepage Journal

    On one side: Miss October '93. On the other: a million scientists, an airplane, and a hypodermic needle.

    Caption: "If you trust SCIENCE to keep your kids safe when flying in an airplane at 600 MPH, five miles off the ground, why don't you trust it about medicine?"

    Sub-caption: "Would you rather your kids be autistic, or DEAD?"

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

Working...