Addressing vaccine hesitancy with parents

Addressing vaccine hesitancy with parents

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As a health care provider, parents—including those who are hesitant—consider you the most trusted source of information when it comes to vaccines.

Navigate your next vaccine-hesitancy conversation with help
from these techniques.

First, start with the presumptive approach.
Opening the conversation with a statement (eg, “Your child
needs 3 shots today.”
)1—rather than a question—leads to more
parents accepting vaccinations for their children.1,2,3,4

Hesitancy may present as follow-up concerns or questions. Explore evidence-based techniques to address them in the scenarios below.

47%: One Observational Study Found Up to 47% of Initially Vaccine-Resistant Parents Ultimately Accepted the Provider’s Vaccine Recommendation After Providers Pursued It.

a In a cross-sectional observational study, multivariate logistic regression was used to explore the association between provider communication practices and parent resistance to vaccines. 111 vaccine discussions with parents of children aged 1 to 19 months were analyzed from September 2011 through August 2012.
bOf 19 parents who were initially resistant to the provider’s vaccine recommendation, 47% subsequently accepted the provider’s recommendation immediately after providers pursued it.1



  1. Opel D, Heritage J, Taylor JA, et al. The architecture of provider-parent vaccine discussions at health supervision visits. Pediatrics. 2013;132(6):1037-1046. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-20373


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Talking with parents about vaccines for infants. Updated April 11, 2018. Accessed May 3, 2022. talking-with-parents.html


  1. Jacobson RM, St Sauver JL, Griffin JM, et al. How health care providers should address vaccine hesitancy in the clinical setting: Evidence for presumptive language in making a strong recommendation. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2020;16(9):2131-2135. doi:10.1080/21645515.2020.1735226


  1. Brewer NT, Chapman GB, Rothman AJ, et al. Increasing vaccination: Putting psychological science into action. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2017;18(3):149-207. doi:10.1177/1529100618760521


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US-NON-10338 05/22