Acceptance on the move: Public reaction to shifting vaccination realities

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Abstract

This review examines four events related to vaccination that have occurred in recent years: (1) the ongoing recovery from the MMR/autism scare in the UK, (2) the upgrading of the varicella vaccine to a universal childhood vaccine, (3) the major effort of authorities to provide a vaccine for A/H1N1 influenza and its rejection by the public and (4) the current attempts to change the HPV vaccine target from girls only to boys and girls. All of these changes have been met with shifts in the public acceptance of the relevant vaccine. These shifts are characterized not only by the number of people willing to be vaccinated, but also by the attitudes and the motives related to acceptance. Examination of the interrelationship between changes in vaccination realities, and changes in acceptance patterns suggests that today, the public has a better understanding of vaccination, is acting in a more reflexive way, and is capable of changing attitudes and behavior. All together, changes in vaccination enhance debates and dialogs about vaccines, and lead to higher awareness and more conscious acceptance.

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