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Vaccine Experts: It’s Time to ‘Nudge’ Hesitant Parents

Vaccine Experts: It’s Time to ‘Nudge’ Hesitant Parents

Source: The Seattle Times

A growing measles outbreak linked to the Disneyland theme park has spurred action in Washington state and elsewhere to crack down hard on parents who don’t vaccinate their children. But experts who’ve studied the contentious issue worry such efforts could backfire. A 2014 study by Dartmouth University researchers suggested that repeated pro-vaccine messages from public-health officials can actually create more resistance to immunization, not less. “My fear is that in the long run, it may end up backfiring,” Omer added. Instead, it might be better to “nudge” parents into compliance rather than penalizing them. That’s a concern echoed by Dr. Doug Opel, a pediatrician and assistant professor of bioethics and pediatrics at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s, who has researched vaccine-use issues extensively.

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