Vaccine hesitancy is growing, resulting in a return of vaccine-preventable diseases within the United States. The increasing number of non-immunized children is due to vaccine-hesitant beliefs among their parents. This hesitancy is difficult to trace, but it reflects a number of societal forces at work. The rise of vaccine hesitancy also threatens those that cannot be immunized, because of allergies or weakened immune systems. The idea - that if most people who can get vaccinated do, there is a lower chance that those who can’t will get sick- is called herd immunity, and is under threat by the recent uptake in vaccine hesitancy.
Who We Are
We are Team IPOV, which stands for Investigating Parental Opposition to Vaccinations. We are a Junior team in the Gemstone Honors Program, through which we conduct team-based undergraduate research that will culminate in a senior thesis. Our team consists of seven undergraduate students and a faculty mentor. For the last three years, we have been investigating the relationship between parents' levels of knowledge and beliefs towards the varicella (chickenpox) and influenza (flu) vaccines, and their levels of vaccine hesitancy.
What We’re Doing
We hope to understand the reasons for the recent uptake in vaccine hesitancy. To do this, we have chosen to study parental beliefs and knowledge regarding two vaccines commonly administered to children - varicella (chickenpox), and influenza (flu). Over the last three years, we have conducted a comprehensive literature review on the subject and carefully designed a survey aimed at shedding light on parental knowledge and beliefs. We plan on administering this survey, the results of which will help in the creation of an intervention aimed at shifting parental beliefs.
How You Can Help
In order to administer our survey, we need to purchase the services of the Qualtrics Online Survey Platform. The platform will be able to link us to a nationally-representative sample of 1000 respondents from which to draw conclusions. Any donations will go directly towards helping us to reach our survey respondents.
Without your support, our research would not be possible. Please feel free to share our research efforts with friends and family, as we continue to try to understand vaccine hesitancy.
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