The Many Faces of Vaccine Hesitancy

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
By By Susan Gallagher


Parents across the world can agree on at least one thing: they want the best for their children. And for most, “the best” includes good health and well-being. So why do some parents put their children at risk of dangerous, potentially deadly infectious diseases by not getting vaccines according to the schedule prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization? 

  Lavanya Vasudevan, PhD; Jeffrey Baker, MD, PhD; and Chip Walter, MD, MPH

The answer to that question is extremely complicated, which is part of why vaccine hesitancy—a reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite availability of vaccines—remains such a vexing problem for the international public health community. In fact, it’s been named one of the top 10 global health threats in 2019.

The reasons behind vaccine skeptics’ hesitancy vary widely, and their reluctance to vaccinate their children also takes different forms. Some parents refuse all vaccines for their children, while others reject only certain ones or just don’t follow the recommended schedule, spacing vaccinations out over longer periods of time. And because of this wide variance, increasing vaccine acceptance requires highly tailored strategies to respond to specific concerns. 

Several Duke researchers, including Duke Global Health Institute faculty member Lavanya Vasudevan and pediatricians Jeffrey Baker and Chip Walter, are among those trying to better understand the complex reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and identify more effective ways of allaying vaccine concerns.

Read complete article at the Duke Global Health Institute