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Vaccine. 2014 Aug 27;32(38):4860-5. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

Addressing the anti-vaccination movement and the role of HCWs.

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Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, Aldo Moro University of Bari, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, Aldo Moro University of Bari, Italy.
Department of Medical and Surgical Science, University of Foggia, Italy.


Over the last two decades, growing numbers of parents in the industrialized world are choosing not to have their children vaccinated. Trying to explain why this is occurring, public health commentators refer to the activities of an anti-vaccination movement. The aim of this paper is to review the literature about the anti-vaccination movements and to highlight the knowledge and the skills needed for HCWs to fight against their ideas. The main theoretical structures of anti-vaccination ideology in the 19th and 20th centuries are: vaccines cause idiopathic illness; opponents against vaccines accused vaccine partisans to be afraid of the "search after truth," they fear unveiling errors; the vaccination law not only insults every subject of the realm, but also it insults every human being; vaccine immunity is temporary; an alternative healthy lifestyle, personal hygiene and diet stop diseases. Proponents against vaccination now have additional means to communicate their positions to the general public, the Internet in particular. Doctors and HCWs constantly have to face parents and patients who search information about vaccination. A lot of these people have previously found data about vaccinations from a lot of sources, such as papers, media or in websites and in these sources most contents come from anti-vaccine movements. For these reasons doctors and HCWs need to have updated knowledge about the vaccinations and to know the contents proposed by vaccine sceptics. Educating the general public cannot be fully effective unless there is a corresponding provision, enthusiasm and commitment by trained HCWs.


Anti-vaccination movement; Communication about vaccines; HCWs; Parents; Web 2.0

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