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Cultural Beliefs Influence on Vaccine Hesitancy


Vaccination presently raises multiple concerns, with a range of people declining the option of vaccinating their children. As a rule, when refusing the procedure, parents of unvaccinated children often cite religious beliefs as the reason for their decision (Pelčić et al.). In their article, Pelčić et al. (2016) analyze the effects that cultural beliefs and traditions have on people’s choice to abstain from vaccines. By studying the intentions of parents, the authors manage to understand whether cultural beliefs are the actual reason or the shield behind the unwillingness to vaccinate children. Coming to the conclusion that all religions value life and, therefore, should not oppose the idea of immunization, Pelčić et al. (2016) conclude that doubts in the efficacy of a vaccine make the core of parents’ actual rationale for their choice.

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The problem of refusal to vaccinate children has been an issue in numerous communities in the U.S. For instance, Pelčić et al. (2016) mention that a surprising number of patients use legal solutions to the issue of vaccination: “Many parents are seeking a legal way to avoid vaccinating their children” (p. 516). The described tendency is quite menacing given the threats that unvaccinated children will face in the future. When citing the reasons for declining immunization options, people often refer to their personal beliefs and the importance of complying with their spiritual traditions and values (Pelčić et al.). For instance, the phenomenon of the “objection of conscience” is often used as the method of avoiding vaccinations (Pelčić et al., 2016, p. 517). However, according to the results of the research carried out by Pelčić et al. (2016), there are no indications that any system of religious beliefs or any particular religious philosophy would contain any indications of vaccines being against its ideas. Quite the contrary, the authors point out that, treasuring life and viewing it as the key value, most religions would technically be pro-immunization since vaccines allow prolonging life (Pelčić et al., 2016). Therefore, the argument concerning the use of religious convictions or a specific system of religious beliefs as the ploy for avoiding immunization does not seem legitimate.


Approaching the problem of immunization from a rational perspective and striving to understand the rationale behind parents’ choices, one will have to concede that most parents are still driven by the willingness to shield their children from harm. However, in the case of rejecting vaccination, these reasons are completely misguided and based on an entirely false premise of immunization being an immediate threat to children’s health. Therefore, it seems that the problem of refusing vaccination of children under the pretext of religious beliefs needs to be addressed by offering parents basic health education and crucial information about the nature, goals, and processes of vaccination. Thus, one may consider the idea of health literacy promotion and the education of patients’ parents as one of the methods of encouraging immunization (Pelčić et al.). Once having a clear understanding of the likely consequences of their refusal to vaccinate their children, parents are expected to agree to the procedure of immunization. Thus, the problem of religious beliefs standing in the way of health promotion will be resolved. Moreover, the possibility of promoting further development of health literacy and the opportunity to spread information about the positive effects of vaccination will open in front of healthcare professionals.


Pelčić, G., Karačić, S., Mikirtichan, G. L., Kubar, O. I., Leavitt, F. J., Tai, M. C. T.,… Tomašević, L. (2016). Religious exception for vaccination or religious excuses for avoiding vaccination. Croatian Medical Journal, 57(5), 516-521. doi:10.3325/cmj.2016.57.516

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Cultural Beliefs Influence on Vaccine Hesitancy'. 1 January.

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