The Best Way to Handle Vaccine Skeptics

According to a recent NY Times editorial, the best way to improve vaccination rates is not to mandate universal vaccination or to label ‘anti-vaxxer’ parents as ignorant.  The best way is to make it more difficult to receive personal exemptions –this is something the government can be quite good at.

Here’s the link: How to Handle Vaccine Skeptics -NY Times

Here’s an excerpt:

They [States} can require parents to write a letter elaborating on the reason their child should be exempt. They can require that the letter be notarized. They can insist that parents read and sign a form that discusses the risks of nonvaccination. Better yet, they should mandate in-person counseling so that the decision not to vaccinate is truly informed.

States can also require that parents obtain an exemption form by specifically requesting one from the state or local health department, rather than downloading it online. They can insist that these parents acknowledge that they will be responsible for keeping the children away from school during outbreaks. Moreover, they should have procedures to review each request for exemption rather than automatically approving them, as many states do now. And they should require parents with exemptions to apply annually for renewal…

 In a 2012 study, which my colleagues and I [Saad Omer] published in The New England Journal of Medicine, nonmedical exemption rates were 2.3 times higher in states with easy administrative policies for granting exemptions (like Connecticut, Missouri and Wisconsin) than in states with difficult policies (like Florida, Minnesota and Texas). Moreover, the annual rate of increase in nonmedical exemptions was about 60 percent higher in states with easy exemption policies compared with states with difficult policies.

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