Vaccination is a controversial issue for parents, but the decision not to have their children immunized is not an option. They tend to perceive it as a potential threat to health, whereas it is a common misconception (Ames et al., 2017). Therefore, the belief in the emergence of severe conditions resulting from vaccination is false, and it is vital to ensure their awareness of risks.
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The problem arises from the abundance of information, which leads to a decrease in trust for any sources of medical information. Hence, parents mostly tend to make decisions concerning vaccination without proper awareness of the consequences of such choices for children (Ames et al., 2017). As a result, medical assistance is substituted by social media, and people see no difference between the sources regarding their credibility.
Organizations promoting vaccination present information about the risks of disease outbreaks to inform parents of its necessity. They face challenges in the form of the spread of biased opinions of anti-vaccine activists in social media (Steffens et al., 2019). Their impact is difficult to trace due to the lack of reaction of people who still perceive such information about vaccination influencing their future decisions.
One of the most discussed consequences of vaccination is autism, and such an outcome results from the opinions provided by parents on social media. However, they present only the symptoms of their children’s conditions rather than state that they are connected to vaccination (Woo et al., 2004). Together with the lack of trust in medical institutions, their beliefs convince others of the harm of immunization.
The misinformation related to vaccination resulting from the discussion in social media leads to uninformed decisions of parents. They choose to refuse it without considering risks such as disease outbreaks. Thus, the critical task is to provide extensive, reliable information on vaccination to avoid biased choices in the future and eliminate the possibility of a negative outcome for other people resulting from such actions.
Ames, H. M., Glenton, C., & Lewin, S. (2017). Parents’ and informal caregivers’ views and experiences of communication about routine childhood vaccination: A synthesis of qualitative evidence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2, CD011787. Web.
Steffens, M. S., Dunn, A. G., Wiley, K. E., & Leask, J. (2019). How organizations promoting vaccination respond to misinformation on social media: A qualitative investigation. BMC public health, 19(1), 1-12. Web.
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Woo, E. J., Ball, R., Bostrom, A., Shadomy, S. V., Ball, L. K., Evans, G., & Braun, M. (2004). Vaccine risk perception among reporters of autism after vaccination: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System 1990–2001. American Journal of Public Health, 94(6), 990-995.