MMR vaccination intentions higher with direct benefit education

1. Parents had higher intentions of vaccinating their child with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine if told about the vaccine’s direct benefits to their child.

2. Providing information on the societal benefits of the MMR vaccine neither increased nor decreased parents’ intentions to vaccinate their child. 

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent) 

Study Rundown: The reemergence of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles in the United States has reinforced the importance of childhood immunizations. This resurgence comes in light of increasing numbers of parents declining vaccinations for their children, making communication with parents a priority. Previous literature has shown that adults are more likely to be vaccinated themselves if told about the societal benefits to immunization (e.g. protecting those who cannot be immunized, such as immunocompromised patients, and creating herd immunity). This study evaluated MMR vaccine message framing in pediatrics and findings suggest that, unlike with adult vaccinations, parents were not more likely to vaccinate their children if told about its societal benefits. Parents, however, were more likely to vaccinate their children when told about specific benefits of the MMR vaccine to their child. Though this study is limited by assessing only parental intention to vaccinate instead of action, these findings point to a communication framework towards approaching childhood immunizations.

Click to read the study, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Vaccine Refusal, Mandatory Immunization, and the Risks of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

In-Depth [randomized control trial]: This study included a national online survey answered by 802 parents of infants <12 months old. Each parent was assigned to 1 of 4 arms with differing vaccine message framing: 1) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Information Statement (VIS), 2) VIS and direct benefits of MMR vaccine to child, 3) VIS and societal benefits of MMR vaccine, and 4) VIS and both direct and societal benefits of MMR vaccine. After parents received this information, they rated the likelihood of immunizing their child with the MMR vaccine on a scale from 0 (not at all likely) to 100 (extremely likely) in increments of 10. Across the study, parents rated their mean intention to vaccinate at 88.8 (SD = 21). Parents in the direct benefits group (mean intention = 91.6, P = 0.01) and combined direct and societal benefits group (mean intention = 90.8, P = 0.03) were more likely to vaccinate their child compared to the control VIS-only group. Societal benefits messages did not change the mean intention to vaccinate (86.4, P = 0.97) compared to the control group.

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