Friday 3 December 2021

What I learned from parents who don't vaccinate their kids | Jennifer Reich | TEDxMileHigh

"Your personal choices affect other people in significant ways.
Vaccines work best when everyone uses them."

-Jennifer Reich, American sociologist

Published on Feb 7, 2020 by TEDx Talks
YouTube: What I learned from parents who don't vaccinate their kids | Jennifer Reich | TEDxMileHigh (13:00)
Why do some parents reject vaccines, despite evidence that they've helped generations of children stay healthy? When sociologist Jennifer Reich started interviewing parents about this growing trend, she realized it wasn't as simple as being ignorant or anti-science. In this fascinating talk, she explains why this movement is the symptom of a much bigger problem -- our broken beliefs about parenting & health. Jennifer Reich is Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research examines how individuals and families weigh information and strategize their interactions with the state and service providers, particularly as they relate to healthcare and welfare. Over the last decade, she has examined how parents come to reject vaccines for their children, in dialog with physicians, complementary healthcare providers, activists, and researchers. She wrote Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines. She & her husband have three children.


Wikipedia: Jennifer Reich
Jennifer Anne Reich is an American sociologist, researcher and author at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include healthcare, adolescence, welfare, and policy. Her work on vaccine hesitancy gained widespread attention during the 2019 measles outbreaks. She is the author of three books and numerous journal articles.

Vaccine hesitancy
Reich spent nearly ten years exploring what motivates some parents to decline inoculations for their children, or delay them. Her interviews with parents and subsequent research are presented in her 2016 book
Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines. She sees vaccine hesitancy as a consequence of societal pressures on parents (especially middle-class mothers) to make choices that are uniquely suited to their own children in terms of health and education, to maximize their chances of success in life: "We do vaccines in a way that has been shown to be scientifically the most efficacious and the safest and also the easiest to distribute at a national level. But for parents who really prioritize each child in their family as an individual, they don't accept this kind of logic." Working full-time on their kids, these parents are inclined to disregard generic advice dispensed by health professionals.

Facing a steady stream of misleading information, pediatricians and public health professionals have to know what motivates parents to be reluctant about vaccines, and to adjust how they communicate, says Reich. She suggests pediatricians have more success having a fruitful dialogue when they can communicate with empathy, parent-to-parent. How to put the focus on collective benefits - explaining own inoculation better protects all children - may be a way for public health authorities to overcome the reluctance of many parents.


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