In a paper in Health Affairs last year, Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and coauthors concluded that California’s mandatory counseling approach worked. Increasing “the opportunity cost of vaccine exemptions” by requiring the signature of a healthcare provider did reduce these opt-outs, they wrote.
Buttenheim told Medscape Medical News that clinicians face challenges in working with parents who have concerns about vaccines. This is only one topic that may be covered in short visit. Parents may notice physicians getting impatient due to time constraints and misinterpret it as a dismissive attitude about their questions.
There has been significant polarization around the topic of vaccines, making it important to make the most of the limited time allowed in a visit, she said.
One useful technique, Buttenheim said, is for physicians to talk about having their own children vaccinated and take other steps to reassure the parents who raise concerns.
“We really want parents to know that most parents do this,” she said. “Nationwide, 95, 96, 97% of parents have their kids vaccinated.”