Healthcare News & Insights

Why don’t people trust vaccines anymore?

We saw it last year, when millions of doses of the much-ballyhooed H1N1 vaccine went unused: Some of the people who are most concerned about their health refuse vaccines for themselves and their kids. What gives?

That’s the question recently posed by molecular biologist and vaccine researcher Adam J. Ruben.

Given that vaccines have eradicated diseases like small pox, and saved millions from suffering with tuberculosis, mumps, whooping cough and many other diseases, why are we now so reluctant to use these powerful, effective tools?

Ruben’s theory is that several factors are in play:

  • Uncertainty — Conflicting or confusing scientific information in the mainstream media leaves people unsure of their options. Consider how much air time actress Jenny McCarthy’s belief that autism is caused by a vaccine still gets, even though the scientific research shows no relationship between the two.
  • Complacency — In a Harvard study, 15% of parents said they withheld vaccines because their child didn’t like needles.
  • Human nature — The act of injecting yourself (or a loved one) feels unnatural. So some people view potential side effects and adverse events from injections as high risk — even though not getting vaccinated actually makes a person more likely to get sick.

Have ideas on how health care professionals can better educate patients on the real risks and benefits of vaccines? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.