Combating Vaccine Hesitancy with Vaccine-Preventable Disease Familiarization: An Interview and Curriculum Intervention for College Students
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vaccines 2019, 7(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines7020039
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 12 May 2019
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed vaccine hesitancy in its top ten threats to global health. Vaccine hesitancy is a “delay in acceptance or refusal to vaccinate despite availability of vaccination services”. Urban areas with large amounts of vaccine hesitancy are at risk for the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). Many vaccine-hesitant (VH) parents may be unfamiliar with the consequences of VPDs, and thus might be swayed when confronted with the symptoms and dangers of VPDs. As such, we sought to educate college students (future parents) in an urban vaccine-hesitant hotspot by assigning them to interview family or community members who had experienced a VPD. Student vaccine attitudes were assessed by surveys before and after the interviews. Vaccine-hesitant students who conducted a VPD interview but received no additional vaccine educational materials were significantly more likely (interaction term p < 0.001) to become pro-vaccine (PV) (68%) than students who conducted an autoimmune interview and received no additional educational materials. Additionally, students whose interviewees experienced intense physical suffering or physical limitations or students who were enrolled in a course with intensive VPD and vaccine curriculum had significantly increased vaccine attitudes. This suggests that introducing students to VPDs can decrease vaccine hesitancy.