Supporting informed decision-making about vaccination: an analysis of two official websites

Supporting informed decision-making about vaccination: an analysis of two official websites
Original Research
Vivion, C. Hennequin, P. Verger, E. Dubé
Public Health, January 2020; 178 pp 112-119
To analyze the content of two official French-speaking websites that are used to inform the general public about recommended vaccines in France and Quebec.
Study design
Qualitative content analysis.
All pages that inform and educate parents regarding childhood vaccination were downloaded and analyzed according to evidence-informed risk communication metrics.
A total of 32 webpages, 14 videos, and two infographics were included in the analysis. The following were the most frequent risk communication approaches: ‘debunking common misconceptions about vaccination’ or ‘answering common questions about vaccines.’ Harm and benefit information focused primarily on the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases and the risks of adverse events after immunization. Most materials used qualitative terminology to describe the risk (e.g., vaccines are among the safest tools, adverse events are rare). Very few materials provided numeric likelihood of harms and benefits. When numeric information was stated, they were only presenting the risks of the diseases or number of cases in an outbreak. The approaches used to debunk misconceptions generally focused on the myth itself rather than the correct information. Few materials used visual aids (e.g., graphics, pictures, icons arrays, etc.) to convey important information.
It is often assumed that misinformation and rumors about vaccination found online is a leading cause of the increase in vaccine hesitancy. Existing communication materials could be improved to better align with best practices in risk communication. Given the availability of confusing and conflicting vaccine narratives, it is crucial that authoritative communication materials aim to build trust and support informed choices about vaccination.

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