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Why vaccine hesitancy must be addressed empathetically

A new expert commentary suggests that healthcare professionals need to tackle vaccine hesitancy in a way that avoids stigmatization. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

(Jennifer Huizen/ Medical News Today) — Vaccine hesitancy refers to “the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite the availability of vaccination services.” Vaccine hesitancy is a complex matter that involves various factors, such as confidence, complacency, and convenience, which differ across different places, times, and vaccines.

In other words, someone may be hesitant to take a specific vaccine but willing to take other vaccines. This may occur if they do not feel a vaccine is safe or effective. And these feelings can develop from a combination of factors such as concerns, misinformation or miscommunications, and past or historical medical experiences.

Research shows that individual factors, such as beliefs, values, knowledge, emotions, and perceptions of risk, influence vaccine hesitancy. It also appears to be affected by various historical, political, cultural, and social factors. (…)

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