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Vaccine. 2016 Dec 7;34(50):6123-6125. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.10.030. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

Parental weighting of seizure risks vs. fever risks in vaccination tradeoff decisions.

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Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States. Electronic address:
Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States.
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, CA, United States.


As part of a survey of about vaccination beliefs, a nationally representative sample of parents of young children answered a series of tradeoff questions that asked them to choose between two vaccination approaches that differed in terms of risks of vaccine complications, number of injections, and/or vaccine effectiveness. Most parents were willing to have their children endure more injections, and many were willing to forgo disease protection, in order to reduce the rare chance of febrile seizures. Yet, most parents were unwilling to trade disease protection to reduce the risk of fever alone, even though this is correlated with the risk of febrile seizures. Vaccine risk communications need to address the heightened emotional weight that parents give to febrile seizure risk, even when the rarity of such events is explicit.


Decision making; Patient education; Risk communication

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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