Parents and healthcare workers may refuse to get immunized or vaccinate their children against a pandemic virus if they believe the risks of a novel vaccine outweigh the benefits, according to research published in Emerging Health Threats Journal.
Parents known to favor ‘alternative medicine’ were particularly opposed to vaccination-but even healthcare workers would be reluctant to get vaccinated against an illness perceived as mild. “Participants were very concerned that in a pandemic, a vaccine would be brought to market without sufficient testing for safety,” write the researchers. Many believed that instead, they could protect themselves against infection through personal control measures such as hand washing, social distancing, or even a good diet. While these measures are important, say Henrich and Holmes, they are not sufficient to prevent illness. This needs to be made clear to the public to ensure the vaccination campaign is successful, they stress.
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Citation: Henrich N and Holmes BJ. “The public’s acceptance of novel vaccines during a pandemic: A focus group study and its application to influenza H1N1.” Emerging Health Threats Journal 2009;2:e8 doi: 10.3134/ehtj.09.008