The Problem of Not Vaccinating and How to Overcome It

  • Updated October 6, 2021
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Every parent wants their children safe and vaccinations are one way to do this, but why do parents choose not to vaccinate? Parents not believing in the effectiveness, safety and usefulness of vaccinations is why we are experiencing a decline in childhood vaccinations. “The perception among some parents that vaccines are unsafe for their children has been heightened in recent years by several factors including the number of vaccines in the recommended childhood immunization schedule.

Sarvesh and Brundha (2018). When a parent is concerned about how many vaccines are going to be given in one visit, it causes concerns about how risky is it that they could adversely react to each other. Another worry is knowing which vaccine is the culprit if there is a reaction. Sarvesh and Brundha (2018) also state in their article that parents who worry about these things tend to be the ones that would decide to not vaccinate and leave their child vulnerable to an infectious disease because they are afraid of the adverse reactions and not knowing which ones were the culprit due to combined and multiple vaccines being given in one visit. There are ways to solve our childhood vaccination problem. The problem of not vaccinating can be fixed if parents are actively involved in educational programs such as organized vaccination programs, structured teaching programs on vaccinations for mothers, and parental educational campaigns.

When vaccinations are brought into the conversation at the doctors’ office, a lot of parents choose not to vaccinate. Let’s look at a few reasons why this happens. According to Esposito, Principi, and Cornaglia (2014), One major cause to choose not to vaccinate is the strong belief that immunities gained from natural disease rather than through vaccinations is more effective and the risks for vaccinations are more risky than the disease itself. Parents who are afraid of vaccinations would benefit from having accurate information about vaccinations and the diseases that they prevent, available to them.

In their article Esposito, Principi, and Cornaglia (2014) states that people’s memories of the horrific events and the results of those events due to lack of vaccination have faded. It is also stated by Esposito, Principi, and Cornaglia (2017), that due to this lack of memory, the prevention methods that are used to prevent vaccine -preventable diseases is deemed as unnecessary or irrelevant. According to Esposito, Principi and Cornaglia (2014) deeming a vaccine as unnecessary also comes about when parents witness another child that was infected but had no serious suffrage from it and they made a full recovery.

Another misunderstood concept for vaccinations is allergic reactions and why they occur. Vivian Chou (2016) states in her article that allergies to vaccines is another serious reason why parents go against vaccinations. Darko Richter (2017) points out in his article that allergic reactions to vaccines are actually very rare, especially when it is compared to vaccines that are used in allergen immunotherapy. However, Richter (2017) writes, that any of the vaccinations that we have can cause an allergic reaction but that most commonly there seems to be three specific ingredients in vaccinations causing reactions.

In his article, Richter (2017) states that, when a child reacts to a vaccine, they should not receive it again unless, it is deemed necessary by a medical professional, in which the administration should be done in a hospital setting under strict and constant supervision. Chou (2016) also states that vaccines are not recommended for people who have weak immune systems caused by serious diseases and that they are not recommended for those who have serious allergies to any of the ingredients that are used in certain vaccinations.

Multiple vaccinations in one visit is the largest upset amongst parents when it comes to vaccinations. Esposito, Principi and Cornaglia (2014) state, misconceptions about to many vaccinations in one visit causes a weakened immune system, which then results in causing chronic diseases. “Among the most popular arguments within the anti-vaccination movement is that vaccines can do more harm than good – for instance, by causing autism, a developmental brain disorder known to impair social interaction and communication” (Chou, V. 2016). It is made known within Chou’s (2016) article that additional strenuous studies were done on the MMR vaccine that has been the center of the autism controversy and have failed to find any links to prove or corroborate the accusation of MMR causing autism. The Center for Disease Control (2019) also agrees in their article that multiple vaccinations in one doctor visit is actually safe and that it saves you time and money getting multiple vaccines while it also offers protection against the diseases that those vaccines were for.

Having looked at the reasons why vaccinations are rejected, what are the benefits of getting vaccinations? Some infectious diseases are making a comeback due to lack of vaccinations. “Measles: The United States has had more than 1,000 cases of measles in 2019. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000” (Center for Disease Control 2019). For having been declared eliminated a decade ago, that number is astonishing. The Center for Disease Control (2019) clarifies, that keeping your child’s vaccinations on time and up to date, helps to protect your child from possibly deadly diseases by giving them vital immunities that are contained within their vaccinations. In their article, the Center for Disease Control (2019) also states that vaccinations are one of the easiest, most reliable, and highly successful ways of keeping our families protected from infectious diseases. Also stated by the Center for Disease Control (2019), vaccines are thoroughly run through many tests to ensure that they are safe and effective for each recommended age timeframe for children.

Let’s talk about a previously tried solution called, school-based vaccine awareness campaigns that were used to try and raise vaccination numbers during a measles outbreak. Marie-Noelle Billard (2017) explained in her article, that during the 2011 outbreak of measles in Quebec Canada, school records indicated that half of the high school student population was not vaccinated and half of them had at least one vaccination of measles, if not two vaccinations for it. Billard (2017) went on to state, that during the investigation, students who had two vaccinations, but had received the first dosage when they were younger than 12 months of age, instead of when they were 12 months or older, were also who were infected with measles.

After the campaigns were completed the results were in on how effective the campaigns were. “The vaccination campaign reached one-third of unvaccinated students and only marginally improved population immunity” (Billard 2017). Billard (2017) states, that although only one-third of unvaccinated children were reached during the campaign, the studies that took place helped to make it clear how difficult it is to vaccinate people who have yet to be vaccinated, and how important it is to keep reliable track of children’s vaccinations so if an outbreak occurs we can respond effectively and efficiently to prevent spread.

Solutions must be found to bring the numbers of non-vaccinated individuals down and raise our numbers of vaccinated individuals. Structured teaching programs on vaccinations for mothers is one possible solution to accomplish this goal. M. H. Punarva (2016) makes her argument for awareness among mothers by stating that mothers must know that a vaccine is a disease-causing agent that is specially created from dead cells of a disease to protect people from that disease. In her article Punarva (2016) conducted a study by gathering numerous mothers background information and then giving them a questionnaire to test their knowledge on optional vaccines which she compared to a post questionnaire on optional vaccines after the mothers participated in a structured teaching program about vaccinations and the results showed that 46.6 percent of the mothers had gained adequate knowledge of vaccines.

Punarva (2016) states in her article that nurses and nursing students should have a curriculum that consists of all information regarding vaccine preventable diseases, vaccine schedules, and information about delayed and optional vaccines that are offered so that the parents have more than enough information to make an informed decision about vaccinating. Corinne Vandermeulen (2017) also agrees in her article that investing in the education of parents is vital in helping vaccination numbers to rise, due in large part to vaccines being the victim of their own success. Vandermuelen (2017) states that majority of parents who are from the younger generations do not know about the disease that the vaccines protect against, they only know what the possible side effects of the vaccines are.

Based on the studies completed on structured teaching programs on vaccinations for mothers, there appears to be a connection between knowledge of vaccinations and lowering unvaccinated numbers. Creating awareness and giving the education that is needed for vaccinations to mothers, has increased the likelihood that they will vaccinate their children due to having the knowledge base about vaccines that they need, to help them not be afraid to vaccinate. “This study findings revealed that structured teaching programme was successful in improving the knowledge of mothers so that they can practice optional vaccinations of their children in time which will be helpful in reducing the incidence of childhood mortality and morbidity rate” (Punarva, M.H. (2016). Furthering parents’ education in vaccinations has proved to be one the strongest points in resolving the issue of high rates of unvaccinated individuals.

Parental educational campaigns are another positive solution that can be conducted to help raise the numbers of vaccinated individuals. Evie Blad (2019) makes note and states within her article, that it is urged that we create parental educational campaigns that rely on personal stories pertaining to vaccinations just as much as it relies on scientific evidence so that it will mirror information that children’s parents are attracted to. It is stated in Evie Blad’s (2019) article that there are promotions for parental education to help lower the amount of disinformation that is being released to parents in order to help raise our vaccination rates because many parents decide to not vaccinate based on discredited studies about vaccines being linked to autism.

Sarvesh and Brundha (2018) agree within their article that vaccinations are the world’s safest and best defense against infectious and contagious diseases but that they may have risks that are involved with receiving them. However, Sarvesh and Brundha (2018) also state that parents accepting vaccinations and choosing to vaccinate is essential to the health, not only in children, but the population as well because vaccinations will deplete the spread of infectious diseases. Following their statements early on in their article, Sarvesh and Brundha (2018) point out that public awareness campaigns can bring awareness to yearly vaccinations as well as vaccinations that are not yearly and tend to be more spread out over years. These public awareness campaigns can also be used to assist parental awareness campaigns.

Parental education campaigns that rely on personal stories just as much as scientific evidence, has proven that parents are more trusting towards vaccines, because they hear more about the success of preventing a disease as opposed to only hearing about the possible reactions to vaccines. They are educated in the possible reactions as well as how often a reaction occurs, to how often an infectious disease is contracted due to not having vaccinations on board and how they can be life threatening.

The amount of disinformation that is released will also be lessened and parents will be well informed about the truth of the benefits of vaccinations. Parents will then feel confident in the information about vaccines and how often they are administered. Knowing that some vaccines are yearly, and some are done every few years, or even every ten years, parents will then understand their benefits and why they are done that way. Parents will not be as reasonably afraid of vaccinations because they will be armed with the correct information about vaccines and their benefits.

Organized vaccination programs are a positive environment surrounding vaccinations and parents can attend these programs alongside other parents and their children to learn about and receive vaccinations. “In Belgium, several studies on vaccination coverage showed that a very high immunization coverage could be reached in infants (>90−95% for all recommended and free of charge vaccinations) and school children (>85−90%) and this coverage was sustained or even improved over a period of over ten years” (Vandermeulen 2017). Vandermeulen (2017) states that there must be record high vaccination rates within communities, which is also known as herd immunity, to even possibly eradicate infectious diseases that plague our populations.

“Vaccination programs that deliver vaccines through integrated programs of preventive medicine for children can help in attaining herd immunity” (Vandermeulen 2017). Vandermeulen (2017) also concludes that once we reach record high vaccination rates in our populations, we must sustain those rates to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. Another strong point that Vandermeulen (2017) suggests in her article, is within the organized vaccination programs, there needs to be goals set and for these goals there needs to be monitoring of the progress over the years incase there needs to be any changes, adaptations or additives to the programs.

After researching organized vaccination programs that also create herd immunity, it is deemed beneficial to incorporate these programs into our communities to help lower the rates of unvaccinated children. While also, using other programs and solutions to educate parents and achieve vaccination goals. In Vandermeulen’s (2017) article, the results of the study for organized vaccination programs, were possible largely in part to the years of work that both the vaccinators and parents took to become educated on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. The organized vaccination programs that were done in Belgium by Vandermeulen (2017) proved that these programs achieved keeping the vaccination rates above 90%.

Using a combination of solutions to reach as many people as possible is the best strategy to use when it comes to educating parents and increasing vaccination rates. Incorporating structured teaching programs on vaccinations for mothers, as well as incorporating parental educational campaigns to bring awareness to structured teachings, then organized vaccination programs can and will result in herd immunity for all communities and populations. Vandermeulen (2017), provides study results, showing that once populations and communities achieve heightening their vaccination rates to 90% or higher for over many years, they can then achieve herd immunity and possibly eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases. Once this is achieved, communities and children will be healthier, longer, and live better lives.


  1. Blad, Evie. “When Measles Breaks Out, Unvaccinated Kids Send Schools Scrambling.” Education Digest, vol. 84, no. 9, May 2019, pp. 4–8. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=135704216&site=ehost-live.
  2. Chou, Vivian (2016). “To Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate? Searching for a Verdict in the Vaccination Debate” Harvard University: The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Center for Disease Control. ‘Making the Vaccine Decision: Addressing Common Concerns,’ August 5, 2019, Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why- vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html
  3. Esposito, S., et al. “Barriers to the Vaccination of Children and Adolescents and Possible Solutions.” Clinical Microbiology & Infection, vol. 20, May 2014, pp. 25–31. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/1469-0691.12447.
  4. Punarva, M. H. “Optional Vaccines for Better Immunization: Awareness among Mothers.” Nitte University Journal of Health Science, vol. 6, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 53–56. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=113843774&site=ehost-live.
  5. RICHTER, Darko. “Allergies to Vaccines in Children.” Pedijatrija Danas: Pediatrics Today, vol. 13, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 24–29. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5457/p2005-114.166
  6. Sarvesh Kumar, J., and M. P. Brundha. “Awareness about Childhood Vaccination among Parents with Children below 15 Years of Age.” Drug Invention Today, vol. 10, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 2481–2484. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=132447040&site=ehost-live.
  7. Vandermeulen, Corinne. “Reaching High Vaccination Coverage through Organized Vaccination Programs – Belgium.” Pedijatrija Danas: Pediatrics Today, vol. 13, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 78–80. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5457/p2005-114.174.

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The Problem of Not Vaccinating and How to Overcome It. (2021, Oct 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-problem-of-not-vaccinating-and-how-to-overcome-it/

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