Week 11 Post – Evans et. al & Offit Ch. 3

November 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The first article that I read over was the Evan’s piece and in this piece a focus group study was performed to gauge parents’ perspectives on the MMR immunization. Six focus groups were split, half consisted of parents who had accepted MMR and the other half consisted of parents who had refused MMR. They found that there was four key factors that influenced parents’ decisions about MMR: “a) beliefs about the risks and benefits of MMR compared with contracting the diseases, b) information from the media and other sources about the safety of MMR, c) confidence and trust in the advice of health professionals and attitudes towards compliance with this advice, and d) views on the importance of individual choice within Government policy on immunization.”

Chapter 3 of the Offit book talked about the repercussions of Andrew Wakefield’s paper and adverse impact that the paper had on the MMR and link to autism. It goes into detail of four of five things that he states that are incorrect. As well as how the decline of vaccinations occurred because of this paper. Studies were done to counteract his argument and no evidence was found that MMR increases the risk of autism, simply just the fact the the amount of autistic children has increased.

These articles all go back to the underlying question of consensus. If everyone agreed that MMR is linked to autism, then there wouldn’t be a problem. But if there is a thought from parents that there is any link, no matter how strong, long, thick, or thin the link is, of MMR to autism then of course the job of receiving MMR is going to decline. And if it is the job of healthcare professionals to meet a certain quota of vaccinations, then this is going to cause parents not to trust them. It’s a vicious cycle. So what can be done to help parents trust their healthcare professionals more? What can be done to get healthcare professionals and parents on the same page?

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  1. The media’s anti-vaccination attitude has lead many parents to believe that vaccinations are detrimental and lead to Autism, though there is no substantial science on this topic. Since most people are exposed to the media on a daily basis, they are constantly being given negative information on vaccinations. Thus, it is important for health care professionals to become more vocal about the positive effects of vaccines and the disease prevention that have lead to. If health care professionals do not get this message out to the public as much as the public is seeing the media, they will likely go off the media since that is what they most. Ideally, the media would change, but since they want to report dramatic news, this is not likely to happen anytime soon. Thus, this matter lies in the hands of health care professionals to inform the public.

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