Mary Appleton joined us at the World Vaccine Congress Lyon 2012 to present on her understanding of the need to rethink our vaccine advocacy approach. There is a genuine need to reduce the instances of hesitation when it comes to vaccination and change perception, before vaccination is denied entirely. Instilling public confidence in vaccines and reducing the concerns of parents and health care providers is the only way to prevent outright denial of vaccines.
Mary Appleton's presentation on "Risk perception, vaccine hesitancy and behaviour" focuses on the following key points:
- Heuristics, or cognitive shortcuts, simplify complex decisions and judgement when assessing the risk of vaccination. These cognitive shortcuts are formed by experience and beliefs
- When presented with âfacts', these cognitive shortcuts filter what information is allowed into the decision, what is excluded, and what is moulded to fit into the decision process
- We need a better understanding of how beliefs influence decisions to vaccinate, and how vaccine advocates can shape messages to encourage positive beliefs and subsequent trust in vaccines
Mary Appleton, Executive Coordinator & PREVENT Regional Coordinator, Canadian Center for Vaccinology