There's more than one reason to skip vaccinations, and not all of them fit into our stereotypes of how anti-vaxxers think. A new analysis identifies four reasons people skip the shots, and how best to convince each to reconsider.
Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs.
If a person doesn't believe that vaccines work or are safe, there's not much you can do to convince them besides dispelling the myths they're working from -- which doesn't always work. Fortunately, that's just one of the "four C's" the researchers identified (this one is lack of Confidence in the vaccines.)
More likely you'll run into people who are Complacent: they aren't opposed to shots, but they just don't really care. You can remind them why vaccinations are important: think of the parents and grandparents who will gladly get a flu or DTPa shot when a new baby arrives in the family. Policy makers can help by making vaccinations normal, expected, and easy.
Other people are Calculating: they weigh risks and benefits, which is a great approach to any kind of health care, but this is a problem if their calculations include myths spread by anti-vaxxers. Correcting some of their information can help shift the balance.
Lastly, some people are most affected by Convenience: these include folks who have trouble affording shots or finding time or a place to get them. As a friend, you could help someone in this category making logistics easier (by offering a ride or babysitting, for example), or by reminding them that most routine vaccines for kids and adults are free.
Using Behavioural Insights to Increase Vaccination Policy Effectiveness [Policy Insights from the Behavioural and Brain Sciences via Infection Control Today]