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October 9, 2002

Antivaccination Web SitesAntivaccination Web Sites

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1717-1718. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1717

In Reply: Dr Davies addresses the issue of the motivation of those choosing not to vaccinate and how to communicate with them. This is a complex topic, and was beyond the scope of our study. Halperin1 outlined 5 categories of parents concerned about vaccine risk, from "uninformed but educable" to "committed and missionary," the latter on a campaign to persuade others of the evils of vaccines. Our experience agrees with Halperin that little is usually accomplished by trying to persuade those who perceive vaccines as being entirely evil; however, many parents will respond to listening and empathy. Very often misinformation can be corrected, and even very resistant parents will respond to being allowed some small degree of control, such as delaying some vaccinations by a few months. Some excellent resources about communicating about vaccine safety issues are available from the Canadian Immunization Awareness Program (http://www.immunize.cpha.ca/english/resourc2.htm#providers) and the Immunization Action Coalition (http://www.immunize.org/genr.d/vaxsafe.htm).