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We CAN have an impact on peoples' vaccination decisions :)

Posted by on Apr. 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM
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Parents' Vaccination Choices Driven By Friends, Family

Posted:   |  Updated: 04/15/2013 8:50 am EDT

When she was pregnant, Ashley Grover Desmarais did not give much thought to vaccinating her child.

It hadn't occurred to her that she could do anything "out of the norm" until late in her pregnancy, when a friend posted on Facebook the reasons why her daughter was unvaccinated.

The post prompted her to do some research. Grover Desmarais, 30, discussed vaccination with her pediatrician, other friends and family, and read various books and articles on the subject. Ultimately, she settled on an augmented schedule: Her daughter, who will be 3 in June, and her son, almost 1, will be fully vaccinated by the time they're school age, but they are following a delayed timeline.

"Many of my other friends have also done augmented schedules for their children's vaccinations," said Grover Desmarais. "I think it's because there's more awareness, more research available, and we're all able to post our findings and experiences on social media."

Despite clear support from major medical groups in the United States, some parents grapple with whether to vaccinate their children according to the immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new study, among the first to probe the social factors that affect parents' decisions, found that friends, family and health care providers play a huge role in what parents choose.

Researchers surveyed 196 first-time parents about who they discussed vaccination with, as well as the types of sources they consulted, including books, media outlets or research articles. One hundred twenty-six followed the nationally recommended vaccination schedule, and 70 did not. (The study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, was based in Washington, a state that has one of lowest vaccination rates in the U.S.)

Nearly all the parents indicated they had what the researchers called "people networks" -- groups of individuals whom they consulted about vaccination. Parents who decided to delay vaccinations, who opted for only some vaccinations, or who decided against vaccination -- dubbed "non-conformers" -- tended to have slightly larger networks. They also tended to have significantly more non-conformers in their social circles.

On average, 72 percent of non-conformers' networks recommended against following the recommended vaccination schedule, versus only 13 percent of those in "conformers'" social networks. Overall, parents said that their partners were the most influential people in their networks, followed by doctors, family members and friends.

Parents who did not stick to the recommended vaccination schedule were also more likely to seek information from books, research articles and mainstream media outlets. But the variable that best predicted parents' choices was the number of people in their networks who advocated for something other than government recommendations.

"For the majority of the parents in this study, the decision came down to the percent of people in their networks saying, 'don't do this' in one form or another," study author Emily Brunson, a medical anthropologist with Texas State University-San Marcos, told The Huffington Post.

Brunson said it is unclear if the parents in the study knew whether they were going to vaccinate before having their babies, then constructed networks that reflected the decisions they made, or if the social networks influenced parents' choices.

"Are the networks driving the decisions, or are the decisions driving the networks?" she asked, adding that she hopes to tackle the question next in her research.

In the meantime, she said the study has a clear message for parents: Who they surround themselves with can have a significant impact on the decisions they make, as can what they say to family and friends.

"It, frankly, really does matter when you're having conversations with other people about vaccination," Brunson said. "It actually has a big effect."

That's something mom Ella Rucker, 40, takes very seriously. She chatted with friends and family about vaccination, and read stories about parents who were staunchly opposed to it, but Rucker ultimately decided it was important to follow the government guidelines. Though Rucker is certain it was the right decision for her 3-year-old daughter, she is careful about what she says to friends when they come to her for advice.

"I tell them what I did, and why it was right for [my daughter]," she said. "But I don't want to be responsible for what anyone else decides."

by on Apr. 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM
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Replies (1-7):
Baby4us09
by Bronze Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 1:07 AM
Good article.
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micheledo
by Bronze Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:49 AM
I saw that on tue STIR,!
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liliem
by Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I really don't like it. It doesn't show all sides, like the non-vaxing side. It only compared vaxing on schedule or delaying. I don't understand the point of delaying because babies are at risk, not older toddlers and children as much. So if your baby isn't vaxed, what exactly are protecting them against since their immune system will be stronger and the risk of complications from the diseases decreases substantially? I just don't get it.

Ichthus
by Bronze Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 10:50 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't understand the point of vaxing babies, actually, because their immune system isn't fully developed until age 2 or 3, so their bodies aren't able to process the vaccine (not sure if I explained that correctly) according to some articles I've read. My point in posting the article is that sharing our knowledge with others DOES affect peoples' decisions according to this article. Even if we don't always see the outcome of our conversations, we should be encouraged by this to keep informing people of their options.

"Parents who decided to delay vaccinations, who opted for only some vaccinations, or who decided against vaccination -- dubbed "non-conformers" -- tended to have slightly larger networks. They also tended to have significantly more non-conformers in their social circles." 

Quoting liliem:

I really don't like it. It doesn't show all sides, like the non-vaxing side. It only compared vaxing on schedule or delaying. I don't understand the point of delaying because babies are at risk, not older toddlers and children as much. So if your baby isn't vaxed, what exactly are protecting them against since their immune system will be stronger and the risk of complications from the diseases decreases substantially? I just don't get it.



kitty8199
by Silver Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 11:24 PM
To me I saw it saying "people who don't vaccinate, just listen to their friends". Making us look like we just blindly follow advice given by non medical people.
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micheledo
by Bronze Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 7:04 AM
I definitely noticed this. BuT, looking at it positively, that means we DO have an influence on people!


Quoting kitty8199:

To me I saw it saying "people who don't vaccinate, just listen to their friends". Making us look like we just blindly follow advice given by non medical people.

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starbuck75
by Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 7:09 AM
2 moms liked this
I STILL find it mind boggling that if research were done, one would find first that drug companies are immune from vaccine litigation in the event of damage and death, so they are not responsible for compensation or aid in caring for a vaccine-damaged child (It's cost us a million just to get him from fifteen months to the age of thirteen). And if one researched they would find that there have been NO synergistic studies. If the research were done, the parent would know that shots are filled with various highly toxic substances and no one knows what they do synergistically nor do they know what these vaccines do on the DNA level. Why would anyone do it knowing these things? World-wide, only 0.0000328% of the world population will die after contracting measles. Far more people (especially children) die each year from diabetes - and yet they still allow high fructose corn syrup in just about all processed food products. Go figure. I can't imagine a parent wanting to risk "autism" for a 0.0000328% chance or possibility of their particular child even GETTING measles and also being the ONE who develops secondary infections from it that will kill them. They have a far higher risk of regressing into autism after the shot - especially if they are boys.
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