Study cites children's pain as reason parents pass on vaccines

Friendlier vaccinations for children
Friendlier vaccinations for children | Courtesy of
Studies have demonstrated that children feeling pain from their vaccinations is a leading cause of anxiety for childhood caregivers, which may contribute to parents stalling on providing childhood vaccinations.

Other contributing factors include mistrust in the health care system and safety concerns.

“While mothers often do not tell you this in the exam room, studies show that almost half of them worry about pain at the time of immunization,” Noni MacDonald, a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, said. “No mother wants to see her baby hurt.”

Health professionals are seeking ways to make vaccines friendlier for children and their parents.

“It’s important to help countries find ways to close the immunization gap and achieve the goals of the new global strategy to achieve the highest attainable standard of health for all women, children and adolescents,” World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health Flavia Bustreo said.

Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 million children die every year from illnesses that are vaccine preventable. Solving vaccine hesitancy -- 20 percent of the world's children do not receive routine, life-saving vaccinations -- may help workers gain access to these children.

“Pain can cut across all of these reasons for resisting vaccinations,” MacDonald said. “If families are already concerned about vaccine safety and have geographic barriers, pain will just be one more reason for them to forgo vaccines completely.”

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World Health Organization

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