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Vaccinations are one of modern society’s greatest health measures against a wide number serious, and oftentimes fatal, diseases. And yet, some people still opt out of it. Why is that?
A study published in the Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences recently found four broad categories that non-vaccinators fit into; those that have issues with complacency, convenience, confidence and calculation. The researchers have also included suggestions on how to convince each of these four types of people otherwise.
1. Complacency: Persons who do not care about vaccinations These are the people who think getting vaccinated does not matter; that they’re unlikely to catch the disease and are content to gamble with their chances. They’re not worried of the possibility of getting infected, and therefore will not get protection for something they think they won’t contact in the first place.
How to convince them: Inform them of the likelihood of infection. Stress the societal benefits of having everyone vaccinated, especially for highly-contagious diseases. Position vaccination as the norm. Have a doctor make strong recommendations in favor of vaccinations.
2. Convenience: Persons who think of vaccinations as an inconvenience Inconveniences include cost of the shots, time-consuming doctor visits, having to travel all the way to the hospital or clinic, and others. These people think that the inconvenience that comes with getting vaccinated outweighs the need for them. If it’s a hassle to get, they won’t bother.
How to convince them: Doctor follow-ups and other interventions that call for follow throughs. Researchers recommend having pre-appointment vaccination schedules for individuals that fit this category.
3. Confidence: Persons with incorrect knowledge and facts about vaccines These are the people who have read incorrect information about vaccination, particularly pertaining to its side effects and risks. Because of this, they have a mistrust of vaccination. Fear, doubt and suspicion can also come into play.
How to convince them: Expose the individual to trustworthy information that debunk the vaccination myths that he or she believes to be true. Let them talk to a doctor who will reassure them the information they possess are indeed myths.
4. Calculation: Persons who weigh the pros and cons of vaccination, and may not vaccinate when information weighs against it These people have at least read a few articles and papers about vaccination and have talked to a fair number of people about it. As much as they can, they opt to make informed decisions before choosing whether or not to vaccinate.
How to convince them: Show them additional information in support of vaccination. Debunk myths. Stress the likelihood of infection. Correct and trustworthy information is vital for the calculating individual.
Lead author of the study Cornelia Betsch, a researcher at Germany’s University of Erfurt, told Yahoo Parenting that the categories highlight the difference on which strategies are most effective for each individual. A person who has lost confidence in vaccination, for instance, would need a very different type of intervention from the individual who finds no qualms in vaccination but finds it a hassle.
“Categorizing … highlights that there are different types and psychological profiles that need different kinds of care,” she said.
While vaccination is considered a personal choice rather than a mandatory task, doctors urge parents to avail of vaccinations for their child. In an article on Smartparenting.com.ph, Dr. Daisy Espejo-Torina, a pediatrician who has been in practice for 10 years, says, “I have seen kids die from measles, meningitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, tetanus. If there are vaccines available to keep my child from getting those diseases, why shouldn't I avail of them?”
Sources: Oct. 1, 2015. "Four types of non-vaccinators profiled". sciencedaily.com Oct. 6, 2015. "Meet the 4 Types of People Who Don’t Vaccinate". yahoo.com