2-May-13 8:00 AM  CST

Social Networks Affect Parents Vaccination Decisions for Kids

Social networks and the Internet are sometimes the deciding factor in whether patients seek treatment or not for an illness or condition for their kids.  This is also true in the decisions made by parents to vaccinate their children.  A recent study conducted by the National Science Foundation and published online in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that parents that did not seek full vaccination for their children and this depended strongly on the advice of their close social networks of friends. 


Dr. Emily Brunson, PhD, of Texas State University concluded that odds for no vaccination were 36 (95% CI 6 to 162) for parents that relied on the actions of ¼ to ½ of their fellow friends on social networks who recommended no vaccination for their children.  Other statistics showed higher rates of no vaccination from 273 (95% Cl to 2,028) when ½ to ¾ of their social network friends suggested against vaccination.  When 75% to 100% of social network members suggested no vaccination noncompliance rates when up even more. 


Dr. Brunson wrote in her study that “the importance of social networks strongly implies that for interventions aimed at promoting vaccine acceptance to be successful, they must take a broad approach, one that is capable of influencing not only parents, but the people parents might discuss their vaccination decisions with” said Brunson. 


As a pharmacy professional do you think parents rely too heavily on social media to make decisions concerning their children’s health and well-being? 


1.  Walsh, Nancy.  “Social Network Sways Vaccine Compliance.”  MedPage Today.  Web.  15 Apr 2013. 


2.  Brunson, Emily, MPH, PhD.  “The Impact of Social Networks on Parents’ Vaccination Decisions.”  Abstract from Pediatrics.  Web.  15 Apr 2013.          

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Jennifer S. O'Reilly
Source: NPTAnews  

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