Communicating with Parents About Vaccines

Strategies for Addressing Parental Concerns About Vaccination

Special Report: Addressing Parental Vaccine Hesitancy

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While the number of people getting vaccinations for their children is relatively stable,1 some parents are hesitant about or refuse vaccines, or want to depart from the recommended schedule, yet patient safety and public health goals call for physicians to discuss vaccination with parents in order to facilitate wide vaccine acceptance.

In this special report, NORCAL's risk management experts identify the most helpful strategies for communicating with parents about vaccination.


  • Learn the seven major parental concerns about vaccines.


  • Understand the five parental vaccine-attitude types.

Best Practices

  • Learn appropriate communication strategies to address parental concerns about vaccines.


Since 1975, NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company has been a policyholder-owned and physician-directed medical professional liability insurance (MPLI) carrier dedicated to ensuring the availability of affordable and relevant coverage. NORCAL provides protection to physicians, health care extenders, medical groups, hospitals, community clinics and allied healthcare professionals across the nation. With its subsidiary companies Medicus Insurance Company, FD Insurance Company, NORCAL Specialty Insurance Company, and its affiliate Preferred Physicians Medical Risk Retention Group, a Mutual Insurance Company, NORCAL Mutual is one of the top ten MPLI carriers in the nation, based on direct written premium.  NORCAL holds an “A” (Excellent) rating by A.M. Best for its financial strength and stability.

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Special Report References

1. Hill HA, Elam-Evans LD, Yankey, D, et al. National, state, and selected local area vaccination coverage among children aged 19-35 months, United States, 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. August 28, 2015;64(33):889-896. Available at: (accessed 9/16/2015)
2. Leask J, Kinnersley P, Jackson C, et al. Communicating with parents about vaccination: a framework for health professionals. BMC Pediatrics. 2012;12:154.
3. Poland GA, Spier R. Fear, misinformation, and innumerates: how the Wakefield paper, the press, and advocacy groups damaged public health. Vaccine. 2010;28(12):2361-2362.
4. Danchin M, Nolan T. A positive approach to parents with concerns about vaccination for the family physician. Australian Family Physician. 2014;43(10):690-694.

5. Opel DJ, Mangione-Smith R, Taylor JA, et al. Development of a survey to identify vaccine-hesitant parents: the parent attitudes about childhood vaccines survey. Human Vaccines. 2011;7(4):419-425.
6. Nyhan B, Reifler J, Richey S, Freed GL. Effective messages in vaccine promotion: a randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2014;133(4):e835-842.
7. Vaccines Work! Immunization Action Coalition. (accessed 9/9/2016).
8. Rozovsky FA. Of consent, informed refusal, and measles vaccination. Journal of Healthcare Risk Management. 2015;35(1):37-41.
9. Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine and Council on Community Pediatrics. Policy statement — increasing immunization coverage. Pediatrics. 2010;125(6):1295-1304.