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Fear Proves Prime Motivator for Vaccinations
Date:9/16/2011

ir doctors to get a more expensive shot.

"So there's a cost motivation for people to come get the shot from the health department," Troutman said.

Once the public is motivated, public health officials then have to make sure they have enough vaccine on hand to treat everyone. "There seem to always be different levels of availability," he said. "It's always a concern: Is there going to be enough vaccine to go around this year?" Then there need to be enough staff members available to apply all the shots.

Once the resources are set and events are timed to the public's convenience, public health directors then start pressing the public to get vaccinated, by writing op-ed articles and doing radio and television interviews -- but knowing all the while that there's a small number of people who don't believe in immunization. Instead, they believe that vaccines are harmful.

"You probably can't change their mind," Troutman said. "They don't accept the science. They don't accept your expertise. The just believe what they believe."

But to reach the majority of adults who accept the concept but don't always act on it, "you talk as much as you can," he said. "You push as hard as you can."

More information

A companion article on adult vaccinations offers details on who should get what, when and why.

SOURCE: Adewale Troutman, M.D., M.P.H., director, public health practice program, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.


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