Immunize BC's informed choice program
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Public Health Association of British Columbia, Canada
Public Health Association of British Columbia, Victoria, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1989
On July 1, 2019 the BC ministry of health enacted a mandatory vaccination status reporting regulation (VSRR) under the public health act. Under the regulation, every student (excluding those attending schools in indigenous communities) from kindergarten to grade 12 attending public and independent schools, including those home schooled, are expected to have a completed immunization record in the provincial immunization registry. A secondary goal is to provide evidence-based information regarding the importance of immunization and the risks associated when choosing not to immunize. The public health association of BC (PHABC) was given the task to develop an evidence-based immunization education module. The module is intended for parents of children whose records have not been submitted/incomplete. The PHABC conducted an environmental scan to evaluate how other provinces and countries were managing vaccine-hesitant parents. The PHABC found most approaches limited to print materials. In cases where active measures were in place, the approach was ineffective. Under circumstances where a course was required to complete, participants were polarised further. We analyzed what the target audience believed. We concluded a one-size-fits-all approach was not effective because of the variety of reasons for vaccine hesitancy. We were able to summarize these into eight categories. We chose a different approach. The PHABC did not want to trivialize the concerns of vaccine-hesitant parents. We created a ‘safe place’ where parents could explore questions/answers that challenged their beliefs. Our approach took a straightforward and compassionate style adapted to their specific perspective. Our goal is to motivate hesitant parents, gently, to reflect on the sources of their information so they might move from vaccine-hesitancy towards immunization. We believe it is by establishing trust and respect that we can advance towards parents making an informed decision in the right direction.