Seeking social media connections
A study published in the journal Pediatrics (April 15, 2013) has determined that parents’ vaccine choices are often informed and influenced by online social networks. Parents who choose not to vaccinate according to the recommended vaccination schedule are much more likely to get information from other parents online compared to a group of parents who follow the schedule.
That is what I have been advising parents for years. Find a network of like-minded people who support your vaccination choices. The pressure to vaccinate children is intense. Doctors, schools, other parents, grandparents and extended family members often exert tremendous pressure on new parents to vaccinate their children. Going against this overwhelming tide of vaccine proponents usually involves some Herculean will on the part of parents who are attempting to make an informed choice. And real information about vaccine risks and side effects is difficult to discover.
Get balanced information
Parents need to discover valid information about vaccines that is free of the propaganda produced by the vaccine manufacturing industry. The first place parents go for information is the Internet. Many resources are available to them including the National Vaccine Information Center and related parent support groups and bulletin board networks online. Parents who choose to make thoughtful decisions will seek out other parents who have already made these vaccine choices.
This study conducted by an anthropologist and published in Pediatrics has uncovered the simple fact that vaccine critics have known all along. Parents seek information and validation for their choices from other parents and professionals in networks that promote informed choice.
Mainstream media has picked up this story and their spin is to try to influence parents to come back to the fold. What we need, they say, is to start parent peer groups to influence and convince wary parents about the necessity of full vaccination coverage for their children. Let’s send vaccine-promoting parents into the preschools and daycare centers to press upon parents the urgency of vaccinating their children. Who dictates to the mainstream media? The pharmaceutical industry. So Time magazine, US News and World Report, MedScape and many other media sources have published articles that tell us it is time for parents to join the ranks of vaccine promotion. Doctors are not doing a good enough job convincing parents, so it is up to the army of vaccinating parents to promote the cause. We can expect more peer pressure and more coercion of young parents who dare to question the dogma of vaccine recommendations and requirements.
Brunson EK. The Impact of Social Networks on Parents’ Vaccination Decisions. Pediatrics. Advanced publication online April 15, 2013.