To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate? It Doesn’t Need to be a Question
While there is scant evidence suggesting parental refusal to vaccinate children is actually increasing, Dr. Tara Smith posits that there are concerning patterns of decline in the confidence in vaccines, the medical professionals who administer vaccines, and the scientists who study and develop them.
Smith’s recent article published by Oxford Press argues why anti-vaccination statements are inaccurate, misleading and disingenuous, presenting information about vaccine safety while debunking myths that are being circulated and creating misunderstandings among the general public. In it she writes that areas with low vaccination rates have resulted in localized outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles and pertussis. Measles cases in the United States, for example, reached a 20-year high in 2014; 90% of those were among individuals who had not been vaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown, suggesting the unvaccinated are drivers of outbreaks.
“Vaccine Rejection and Hesitancy: A Review and Call to Action” also presents ways that healthcare and infectious disease professionals can actively promote vaccination to friends, family and the people they serve, such as “vaccine ambassador” programs and advocating for state-wide and workplace vaccine policy.