The numbers of parents stating concerns about common childhood vaccines have been increasing to incredible numbers throughout the past decade with devastating effects. Increased numbers of cases of previously rare and controlled diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, have been cropping up with a particularly widely reported incident of 10 cases of children dying from whooping cough in an area of California in 2010. This has raised the question of how to change the minds of people who have resisted getting their own children vaccinated.

In many instances, physicians have given their patients more information about the vaccines, stating they are not only safe but also effective and that they in no way cause autism as one incorrect research study stated several decades ago. However, physicians have not seen this changing many people’s minds, and new research has set out to discover how parents’ minds can be changed into agreeing to the vaccines.

Disappointing Study Regarding Knowledge of Vaccination Effects

In the study, which had over 1,700 participants, researchers used a control group as well as four other groups, which were each given different messages about vaccination. Before being given the messages, the participants were questioned regarding their current thoughts about vaccines.

After the initial phase, one group was given an “Autism correction” message in which they were told that the study saying that vaccines caused autism had been thoroughly disproved. The second message was called “Disease risks,” and this told participants about the risks to their child should they get measles, mumps or rubella. The third message was “Disease narrative,” which told participants a true story about an infant who came down with measles. The fourth message was “Disease images,” which showed participants pictures of children who had developed measles, mumps or rubella.

Sadly, it was found that none of these messages did anything to improve participants’ perception of vaccines and their safety. In fact, in some cases, researchers found that the messages actually backfired, leading participants to develop even more firmly held beliefs that vaccines are dangerous. While doctors are still encouraged to develop new methods of discussing the importance of vaccinations with their patients, this study proves that common vaccine messages do not work. Dr. Matney recommends vaccines for his patients and is more than happy to discuss current research with his patients and their caregivers.