(HealthDay News) — Emphasizing the direct benefits of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination to the child is more helpful in increasing the intention of parents to vaccinate, according to research published online August 18 in Pediatrics.

Kristin S. Hendrix, PhD, of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues conducted a national online survey of 802 parents of infants younger <12 months to assess the impact of message framing on intent to immunize. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of four vaccine messages: (1) the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Information Statement (VIS); (2) VIS and information emphasizing the child benefits of MMR vaccination; (3) VIS and information emphasizing societal benefits of MMR vaccination; or (4) VIS and information emphasizing the child and societal benefits of MMR vaccination. Parents responded with intention to vaccinate on a scale of 0 (extremely unlikely) to 100 (extremely likely).

The researchers found that parents had greater intent to seek MMR vaccination for their child when they received information emphasizing child benefits (mean intention, 91.6; P=0.01) or child and societal benefits (mean intention, 90.8; P=0.03) rather than the VIS only (mean intention, 86.3). Parents did not have increased intentions to seek MMR vaccination for their child when the emphasis of the message was societal benefit (mean intention, 86.4; P=0.97) compared with the VIS only.

“We did not see increases in parents’ MMR vaccine intentions for their infants when societal benefits were emphasized without mention of benefits directly to the child,” the authors write.

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