Online Program

Evidence-based strategies for communicating with vaccine-hesitant parents

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Todd Faubion, PhD, Immunization Program, WithinReach, Seattle, WA
Ginny Heller, MSW, WithinReach, Seattle, WA
Mackenzie Melton, MPH, WithinReach, Seattle, WA
Washington State has very high vaccine-hesitancy (three times the national average at 4.5% exemption rate for kindergarteners in 2011). Vax Northwest, a Washington State partnership formed in 2008 to address vaccine hesitancy through evidence-based interventions, is currently analyzing the results from a randomized control trial of a communication tool designed to promote more productive conversations between health care providers and vaccine-hesitant parents. This is critical work because, while there are many tools to address vaccine hesitancy, none have ever been formally evaluated. This intervention reviewed in this session is based off of three years of needs assessment and pilot research conducted by Vax Northwest partner organizations: Group Health, Seattle Children's Hospital, WithinReach, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Community Pediatric Foundation of Washington. This research indicated that, among vaccine-hesitant parents, providers are a vital source of information, but only if providers communicate in an empathetic and respectful tone that does not rely exclusively on scientific data. This presentation will detail the intervention that has been developed to address vaccine hesitancy in the provider-parent domain; the protocol focuses on assessing parent attitudes, aligning physician and parent goals even if they don't share common ground on vaccination, and ensuring that an appropriate tone is set for future productive communication. Preliminary results from the randomized control trial regarding the effectiveness of the protocol and any lessons learned will be shared. Data reflect both provider experiences using the protocol and parent receptivity to physicians' vaccination recommendations when providers use the intervention.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe evidence-based best practices for communicating with vaccine-hesitant parents

Keyword(s): Immunizations, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My doctoral background is in communication science surrounding contentious health topics. I coordinate a randomized control trial that tests the efficacy of communication protocols with vaccine-hesitant parents. Part of this work is training physicians in communication methods that will yield better results with vaccine-hesitant parents.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.