(HealthDay News) – Parental vaccine acceptance is associated with how providers initiate and pursue vaccine recommendations, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in Pediatrics.

Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH, from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional observational study to characterize provider-parent vaccine communication. One hundred eleven vaccine discussions with 16 providers were videotaped during health supervision visits with parents of children aged 1–19 months. Vaccine-hesitant parents (VHPs), designated as such by scoring of a written survey before the visit, were oversampled. The association between provider communication practices and parental resistance to vaccines was explored.

The researchers found that 74% of providers initiated vaccine recommendations with presumptive communication (“We have to do some shots”), rather than participatory formats (“What do you want to do about shots?”). Significantly more of the 41% of parents who voiced resistance to provider initiation were VHPs than non-VHPs. The odds of resisting vaccine recommendations were significantly increased if the provider used a participatory vs. a presumptive initiation format (adjusted odds ratio, 17.5). Half of providers pursued their original recommendation when parents resisted, at which point 47% of initially resistant parents accepted recommendations.

“How providers initiate their vaccine recommendations at health supervision visits appears to be an important determinant of parent resistance to that recommendation,” the authors write.

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