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October 2017

Communicating About Vaccines in a Fact-Resistant World

Author Affiliations
  • 1Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(10):929-930. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.2219

The continued success of vaccines, one of the most effective public health interventions, depends on high rates of acceptance. Vaccine refusal in the United States has increased since the late 1990s.1 This trend has coincided with an increase in vaccine safety concerns. Such concerns result from easy recall of adverse events, misinformation, and human tendency to poorly judge probabilities. When a significant proportion of the US population is impervious to scientific facts, such as belief in human-induced climate change, it is difficult to communicate vaccine-related information to patients.