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Monday, October 16, 2023

Vaccine Hesitancy and Alternative Medicine

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong

Vaccine hesitancy has become a threat to public health, especially as it is a phenomenon that has also been observed among healthcare professionals. In this study, we analyzed the relationship between endorsement of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and vaccination attitudes and behaviors among healthcare professionals, using a cross-sectional sample of physicians with vaccination responsibilities from four European countries: Germany, Finland, Portugal, and France (total N = 2,787). Our results suggest that, in all the participating countries, CAM endorsement is associated with lower frequency of vaccine recommendation, lower self-vaccination rates, and being more open to patients delaying vaccination, with these relationships being mediated by distrust in vaccines. A latent profile analysis revealed that a profile characterized by higher-than-average CAM endorsement and lower-than-average confidence and recommendation of vaccines occurs, to some degree, among 19% of the total sample, although these percentages varied from one country to another: 23.72% in Germany, 17.83% in France, 9.77% in Finland, and 5.86% in Portugal. These results constitute a call to consider health care professionals’ attitudes toward CAM as a factor that could hinder the implementation of immunization campaigns.
From the article
Even though vaccinations are one of the most beneficial medical advances in human history, they have been subject to controversy since the first mass vaccination campaigns—e.g., the numerous anti-vaccination leagues that emerged in the U.S. during the last quarter of the 19th century.Citation1,Citation2 Vaccine hesitancy is a complex phenomenon that encompasses various types and degrees of negative attitudes and behaviors—e.g., outright rejection, delay, or reluctant acceptance of vaccination.Citation3 There are several sources of vaccine hesitancy among the general population, such as complacency, distrust, and conspiracy beliefs,Citation4 which vary depending on the socio-political context and the type of vaccination. For example, complacency (i.e., unwillingness to get vaccinated due to low perceived risk of vaccine-preventable diseases) is particularly salient in relation to the influenza vaccine,Citation5 whereas conspiracy beliefs and science-related populism tend to manifest during threatening and politically charged events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.Citation6,Citation7 Numerous studies have also observed vaccine hesitant attitudes among health care professionals (HCPs), which are reflected in lower rates of self-vaccination and vaccine recommendation to patients.Citation8

Prior studies among the general population and nurses suggest that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is positively related to vaccine hesitancy.Citation9–14 CAM is defined by the World Health Organization as “a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own traditional or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health care system”Citation15—in Western societies: homeopathy, acupuncture, energy and crystal healing, reflexology, magnet therapy, or anthroposophic medicine.Citation16–18 Due to its potential effect on willingness to recommend and receive vaccines, the analysis of the relationship between vaccine hesitancy and CAM endorsement among physicians is particularly relevant due to their direct contact with the general public and vulnerable populations, as well as to their key role in patients’ vaccine-related decision-making processes.Citation19,Citation20