Parents Are More Influenced by Each Other Than Their Doctors When It Comes to Deciding Whether to Vaccinate

Say What!? 10

immunizationAlmost every mom out there has strong opinions on vaccinations, whether it's for or against. But you'll never guess what has the strongest influence on our opinions. A new study says social networks affect parents' decisions to vaccinate more than anything else. In other words, Facebook made you vaccinate -- or decide not to vaccinate!

More interesting, it looks like vaccination "naysayers" (people who chose to delay or opt out of vaccinations) are more likely to be influenced by social media than parents who stay on schedule. They're also more likely to have collections of books, articles, and websites where they turn for vaccination information.

This was a small study: Just 196 parents were interviewed. I know that always skews people's opinions of a study, so keep this in perspective. Still, the study's findings make a lot of sense to me. How many times have I heard parents who oppose following the CDC's vaccination schedule say, "I've done the research!"

On the other hand, I have pro-vaccination friends who also say, "I've done the research" -- but that's because they're doctors or medical researchers.

Anyway, when I think about those moments when I've doubted the safety of vaccinations, it's always been from talking with friends or following links posted on Facebook. Who do you trust more? It sounds like we trust our friends more than we trust the medical establishment. Should we trust our friends more, though? I think that's a difficult question to answer. Western medicine has been wrong just often enough to make people wonder -- and you know that when we wonder, we ask questions, and we can't help sharing what we find, no matter how reliable the source is.

Do you feel like social media had a large effect on your decisions about vaccinating?


Image via Army Medicine/Flickr

baby health, in the news, vaccines


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Jespren Jespren

I think the internet has made published research articles more availible to the general public. Then the general public finds and shares the studies, research articles, peer-reviewed data, and meta analysis information to their like-minded friends. I am a 'late adopted' to technology, before 'social networking' I emailed my friends when I found a good paper, they emailed me. Before email we passed books and paper copies of magaizines and articles. Now I post it to social media. Trust has to be earned, many doctors have spent the last several decades doing everything they can to lose trust we've placed in them. They no longer get to just pass their words off as gospel. "Liars are not believed, forsooth, even when liars tell the truth" -Aesop's The Boy and the Wolf.

slcjcc09 slcjcc09

Social media did not influence my decision not to vaccinate, I read the ingredients of the recommended vaccines and then researched those ingredients and decided based on that, however, I do like knowing there are like minded people out there. (I mostly see them in parenting forums or from a few 'liked' pages on facebook); very few of my friends choose not to vaccinate, so it's not something I see a lot of on my newsfeed from friends. 

nonmember avatar Audrey

When I had to worry a lot that my newborn was going to catch whooping cough b/c so many parents had choose not to have their kid vaccinated and there was an out break, it drove home that truly vaccines are a public health issue. It was 100% unfair that on top of everything else I had to worry about with a newborn and illness I had to worry about something that parents could have prevented. Research all a person wants. Truth of the matter is we all had them when we were little, they have prevented a lot of children from getting sick, and if your child dies from something you could have prevented b/c you listened to your friends then you should feel 100% responsible, and if my baby had caught whooping cough in his first few months of life b/c of parents belief that not vaccinating was safer than vaccinating than hell have no furry to a scorned momma. You can research instances of autism all you want. Truth is, more woman are having babies later in life. Research the impact of that. Sometimes autism just happens sadly.

Katrina Stidd

Research - It's our resonsibility as parents to take charge of the health and well being of our children. Not the doctors or the CDC. Me. I am responsible for my children's health. I am responsible to research and if I trust my friends or doctors blindly, then I am a fool. Research ALL of the information and then YOU decide what is best. 

megth... megthompson920

I don't vaccinate my children, I don't blame vaccinations for autism per say.. But I researched so much. My first child was vaccinated fully until she was a year old. Then I started researching and stopped. My second child has not been vaccinated at all. My unvaccinated child has been much healthier than my vaccinated child. Also, to the comment about the whooping cough outbreak, the CDC has released a statement that 97% of the cases of that outbreak were in fact in the vaccinated children not the unvaccinated ones. Also, when side effects listed on the PACKAGE INSERT, not the paper from the doctor but the actual insert that comes with the vaccines, lists SIDS as a side effect... no thanks!

Interestly enough, most people who work in the vaccine industry, developing them and such, do not vaccinate their children.. why do you think that is?

Ellen Mary

I am influenced by my friends: who ARE Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Paramedics, etc.!

Bloom... Bloom4ever

to be truthful my choice to stop vacinating my kids was influenced my their DOCTOR! :O he told me he didn't recommend continuing with certain vaccinations...why? cuz of so many reactions in kids (and I'm not talking autism or anything like that...) and him seeing it 1st hand in his own daughter...and me having a history of reacting to my kids do get SOME vaccines but it's maybe 1 or 2 tops...and that's after talking to their doctor about it...

Crist... Cristi1004

I chose to space out and somewhat delay vaccines after my oldest had a reaction after her 12 month shots. (her legs swelled so badly, even the ER nurse and doc were shocked) The main issue we ran into is that we didn't know which of the numerous vaccines caused it so I refuse to do more than 3 shots at a time and any live vaccines on a different appt. (they did 7 when she had the reaction)

Tayná Faria Korhonen

I just don't trust these flu vaccines, not even to myself! So i gave my girl all the other important, the ones against REAL diseases. Why stuff kids with unnecessary chemicals and change the way their immune system works for a flu? Besides, I know some couple of kids who have taken this vaccines, and guess what? They are sick and in fever almost every month!

I'm not sayin' people shouldn't listen to their doctors, I just think we could be more critical when it comes to well-being of our own children. They are doctors, not gods!

Jessica Davis

Social media has not influenced my decision at all....I have read through the CDC's pink book on epidemiology of the diseases, and according to the CDC most of the diseases are benign in healthy individuals and will resolve without the need for medical attention, I have researched each individual ingredient, I have read the package inserts and I have researched the fail rate of the vaccines. Not worth it, they are often ineffective and I cannot justify pumping toxins into my children in fear of disease when they vaccines often fail anyway. Promote good health through probiotics, good hygiene and good diet instead of suppressing the immune system by bypassing our own immune system by injecting toxins directly into the body.

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