Free Coronavirus / COVID-19 CME

  • FREE

    Vaccine hesitancy and denial: A problem for the ages coming into sharp focus during the pandemic

    Activity Description / Statement of Need:

    In this online, self-learning activity:

    The WHO defines vaccine hesitancy (VH) as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services.” Despite substantial progress in rates of routine immunization over the decades prior to the most recent one, more recent trends suggest that immunization rates are beginning to plateau. Beyond VH and skepticism, there is also the embrace of outright vaccine rejection or denial fostered by the presence disinformation on conventional and social media platforms including claims that vacines are unsafe or unnecessary. Recent outbreaks of largely eradicated diseases such as measles, mumps, and diphtheria suggest that herd immunity may have suffered, putting those ineligible for vaccination at additional risk of infection. These developments have been attributed in part to VH and denial.

    One large group with increasing VH is parents. A 2019 national survey found that approximately 1 in 4 parents reported serious concerns towards vaccinating their children. Another study saw that in up to 35% parents of well-vaccinated children demonstrate VH. Parents may raise issues that many providers feel ill-equipped to answer, due to lack of thorough knowledge of all vaccines or lack of evidence-based communication strategies. Unfortunately, only few evidence-based strategies exist to guide providers in their discussions with vaccine-hesitant parents.

    Providers play a crucial role in vaccinating populations, but it is not and should not be their sole responsibility. Clinical practice sites, community organizations, health organizations, and government all contribute to addressing VH. Understanding potential solutions outside the office, such as media campaigns and policy changes, also provide insight into vaccine hesitancy and potential directions for future use.

    Target Audience:

    The following HCPs: Primary care physicians, pediatricians, and public health professionals; physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and pharmacists who practice in adult internal medicine and pediatrics; and any other clinicians who commonly encounter patients eligible for protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

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    • Cost: Free
    • Credit hours: 1
    • CME credits awarded by: ScientiaCME
    • Material last updated: December 10, 2021
    • Expiration of CME credit: December 10, 2023