Understanding the role of information in vaccine hesitant parents’ decision-making

Vaccination has been proven to be an effective tool to combat the spread of many communicable diseases. However, recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles have heightened concern regarding parents who are vaccine hesitant (i.e. who exhibit delayed acceptance or refusal of some or all vaccines).

Understanding what types of information most influence parents is key to producing effective public health messages that will improve vaccination rates.

Working in collaboration with the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), this project will examine the relationships among health information, social context, and parental decision-making around routine early childhood vaccinations.

To understand how information interventions interact with social context to influence parental decisions about routine childhood vaccinations, we will conduct:

  1. critical discourse analysis of vaccine discussions on social media
  2. a study of vaccine-hesitant new parents, following their information use and vaccination decisions over the course of a year
  3. a population survey module on health information seeking and use

This work will complement studies by CIRN and contribute to CIRN recommendations for Canadian immunization policy and practice.