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Public Relations Campaign to Support Vaccination Gets Jabbed

Author // Jeanne Ohm, DC

In a breaking study published this week in the journal Pediatrics it was revealed that the recent government PR efforts to frighten parents into vaccinating may be pushing parents away from vaccinating. The study titled “Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion” revealed that scientific studies, vaccine facts and photos of kids with childhood diseases actually made the already wary parents even more hesitant to want to vaccinate.

Parents were first questioned about their opinion on vaccines and then exposed to one of these four PR approaches:

1 . Research claiming the MMR vaccine does not cause autism
2. A pamphlet reporting the risks of the diseases
3. Photos of children with the disease
4. Listening to a parent relay her experience of her son having measles

Interestingly, the PR tactic that tried to discredit the relationship between vaccines and autism to parents who were already questioning vaccines, showed their potential of vaccinating dropping from 70% to 45%.

In the parent group that was shown photos of kids with the childhood diseases, these parents also became more committed to refusing vaccines.

Barbara Loe Fisher, NVIC president and 35 year advocate for informed choice said,  “It is a big mistake for public health officials to assume that those resisting public health messaging about vaccines and diseases are ignorant, uneducated, ‘anti-science’ and that they lack social conscience.”

One pediatrician noted that parents made their decision based on the emotional tone of the doctor, not major PR campaigns. This reveals how important it is for both parents to be informed and present on the office visits where vaccines will be introduced. The combined strength and commitment to their conscientious objections is much harder to be intimidated then when a parent shows up alone at the visit.

Of even greater interest was research from Emily Brunson, a medical anthropologist who discovered that friends and family had the most influence. Her research noted that if more than 25% of a parent’s peer group did not support the government recommended vaccine schedule, the parent would be in agreement with them.

Truly, this shows the importance of gathering and fostering local “tribes” of informed, conscientious, parents. Such grass roots gatherings empower parents to question the government health recommendations, do their own unbiased research, search their own conscience and then choose what they want for their families. The key here is allowing parents to make their own conscious choices from within.

Pathways to Family Wellness magazine provides the information to read and ponder. Addressing the many issues new parents are confronted with, vaccines included, Pathways articles cover informed, conscious perspectives in Pregnancy, Birth, Newborn Concerns, Parenting, Nutrition, and many other pertinent subjects. At Pathways, we knew we were providing the information, but from personal experience as parents, we knew that the real shifting of paradigms occurs with local, on-going support and community building. Thus Pathways Connect (PC) was born.

Pathways Connect is a thriving community outreach program, offering a safe, informative setting where parents meet, discuss, share and are empowered and respected when making their own conscious choices for their families.

There are over 300 PC groups and they are listed on the Pathways website. Each provider who hosts the PC groups is given additional resources for each and every article. Find your local group and meet others who are also seeking to discuss these very important decisions they are faced with as new parents.

1- National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) :

2- Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial.

3- Pro-vaccine Messages Actually Backfire, Study Finds:

4- Pathways to Family Wellness articles on vaccines:

Image Courtesy of © Jamie Siever Photography

Jeanne Ohm, DC

Dr. Jeanne Ohm has practiced family wellness care since 1981 with her husband, Dr. Tom. They have six children who were all born at home and are living the chiropractic family wellness lifestyle.

Dr. Ohm is an instructor, author, and innovator. Her passion is: training DC’s with specific techniques for care in pregnancy, birth & infancy, forming national alliances for chiropractors with like-minded perinatal practitioners, empowering mothers to make informed choices, and offering pertinent patient educational materials.