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Strategies for Addressing Parental Concerns About Vaccination

May 15, 2019

While the number of people getting vaccinations for their children is relatively stable,1 some parents are hesitant about or refuse vaccines, or want to depart from the recommended schedule, yet patient safety and public health goals call for physicians to discuss vaccination with parents in order to facilitate wide vaccine acceptance. In this special report, NORCAL’s risk management experts identify the most helpful strategies for communicating with parents about vaccination.

Communicating with Parents About Vaccines


  • Learn the seven major parental concerns about vaccines.


  • Understand the five parental vaccine-attitude types.

Best Practices

  • Learn appropriate communication strategies to address parental concerns about vaccines.


1. Holly A. Hill, et al. “Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2017.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2018;67:1123–1128. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6740a4

2. Julie Leask, et al. “Communicating with Parents About Vaccination: a Framework for Health Professionals.” BMC Pediatrics, 2012;12:154. doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-154

3. Gregory A. Poland, Ray Spier. “Fear, Misinformation, and Innumerates: How the Wakefield Paper, the Press, and Advocacy Groups Damaged Public Health.” Vaccine, 2010;28(12):2361-2362. (subscription required for access)

4. Brendan Nyhan, et al. “Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial.” Pediatrics, 2014;133(4):e835-842. (subscription required for access)

5. Margie Danchin, Terry Nolan. “A Positive Approach to Parents with Concerns About Vaccination for the Family Physician.” Australian Family Physician, 2014;43(10):690-694.)

6. Douglas J. Opel, et al. “Development of a Survey to Identify Vaccine-Hesitant Parents: The Parent Attitudes About Childhood Vaccines Survey.” Human Vaccines, 2011;7(4):419–425. doi:10.4161/hv.7.4.14120

7. Fay A. Rozovsky. “Of Consent, Informed Refusal, and Measles Vaccination.” Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, 35: 37-41. doi:10.1002/jhrm.21177. (subscription required for access)

8. Kathryn M. Edwards, Jesse M. Hackell, The Committee on Infectious Diseases, The Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine. “Countering Vaccine Hesitancy.” Pediatrics, Sep 2016, 138(3) e20162146; doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2146

Filed under: Patient Communication, Special Report, Physician, Pediatrics, Family Practice



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