The growing vaccine hesitancy: exploring the influence of the internetEuropean Journal of Public Health, Volume 28, Issue 5, 1 October 2018, Pages 934–939,Published:04 July 2018
Vaccination coverage is dropping in several countries, including Slovenia. More and more people hesitate or even reject vaccinations. As the influence of the internet grows, the question becomes how to communicate about vaccination to parents in order to prevent this drop in vaccination coverage among children.Methods
For the first time in Europe, the Situational Theory of Publics (STOP) has been used in the field of vaccination to segment mothers to subpublics, and to prescribe a clearly defined form of communication for each of the segmented groups. In the survey, 1704 mothers participated who gave birth in 2014 and 2015 in Slovenia.Results
The study showed that mothers react passively to information on vaccination no matter whether they come across it coincidentally or intentionally. Most often, they seek information about vaccination from friends or online. The more concerned they are about the safety of vaccines, the more they search for information about vaccination, and their communication is consequently more active. The mothers that problematize the safety of vaccines more, and are afraid of their adverse events tend to be in favour of alternative options.Conclusions
Our research demonstrated that the STOP can be applied to the field of vaccination. There is a huge need for intensive professional communication about vaccination on the internet and social media. The improvement of the communicational competences of doctors and healthcare workers is essential to achieve better communication with parents and the media, and needs to be focused on mothers and pregnant women.