How Should Pediatricians Handle Anti-Vax Parents?

               Misinformation Regarding Vaccines

Misinformation regarding the science behind vaccines has spread like wildfire over the past few years, causing many parents to question if they should have their children vaccinated. The number of children going unvaccinated in the United States has unfortunately led to the return of viruses that were previously thought to have been eradicated in the US such as measles, pertussis and mumps. This has created a problem for pediatricians as to how they should address parents that are against vaccinating their children.

               Common Myths Regarding Vaccines

Some of the most common myths that influence the decision to let children go unvaccinated include:

  • Vaccines cause Autism.
  • Infants cant handle many vaccines.
  • Vaccines contain toxins that can harm children.
  • Vaccines can have negative long term effects on health.
  • Vaccines can give a child the disease it is trying to protect against.
  • Infection rates are so low, I don’t need to vaccinate my child.

Although these are the most common reasons that some parents refuse vaccinations for their children, none of these myths have been proven by any scientific study.

               How to Address Anti-Vax Parents

To navigate the difficult situation that anti-vax parents can put medical professionals in, there are a few things doctors can do:

  • Present vaccines as a routine medical procedure (not a question of if the parents want the or not).
  • Ask about parents concerns and address them.
  • Debunk the myths they have heard about vaccines.