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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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September 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 6)

Anti-vax? No, just can't get an appointment
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Anti-vax? No, just can't get an appointment image

Low vaccine take-up rates have little to do with 'anti-vax' messages on social media—and much more to do with the practicalities of making a doctor's appointment and availability of staff, a leading public health consultant has said.

Anti-vax messages are being censored on social media, but they are influencing only "a tiny minority of parents", says Jamie Lopez Bernal, a Public Health England (PHE) consultant at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Parents' confidence in immunisation is high, says Mr Bernal. Surveys by PHE has discovered that "the proportion of parents with concerns that would make them consider not having their child immunised has been at an all-time low for the past three years."

The major factor why children aren't being immunised is simply down to access: parents who can't meet appointment times and staff who aren't around when parents can make it to the surgery.

These practical problems are very different to the views of the World Health Organization, which has listed 'vaccine hesitancy'—fuelled by anti-vax messages—as being one of the 10 major health threats today.


(Source: Pulse, April 26, 2019)

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