In many parts of the world, vaccination rates have been declining in recent years.
This study aimed to determine the rates and reasons for parental hesitancy or refusal of vaccination for their children in Türkiye. A total of 1100 participants selected from 26 regions of Türkiye were involved in this cross-sectional study conducted between July 2020 and April 2021. Using a questionnaire, the researchers collected data on:
- the sociodemographic characteristics of parents,
- the status of vaccine hesitancy or refusal for their children,
- the reasons for the hesitancy or refusal.
Using Excel and SPSS version 22.0, they analysed the data with chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test and binomial logistic regression.
Only 9.4% of the participants were male and 29.5% were aged 33-37 years. Just over 11% said they were worried about childhood vaccination, mainly because of the chemicals used in manufacturing the vaccines. The level of concern was greater among those who:
- got information about vaccines from the internet, family members, friends, TV, radio, and newspapers,
- used so-called alternative medicine (SCAM).
The authors concluded that parents in Türkiye have several reasons for hesitating or refusing to vaccinate their children, key among which are concerns about the chemical composition of the vaccines and their ability to trigger negative health conditions such as autism. This study used a large sample size across Türkiye, although there were differences by region, the findings would be useful in designing interventions to counter vaccine hesitancy or refusal in the country.
The fact that SCAM users are more likely to be against vaccinations has been reported often and on this blog we have discussed such findings regularly, e.g.:
- Intelligence, Religiosity, SCAM, Vaccination Hesitancy – are there links?
- Andrew Wakefield, Donald Trump, SCAM, and the anti-vaccination cult
- Endorsement of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) and vaccine hesitancy among physicians
- So-called alternative medicine (SCAM) and vaccine hesitancy among physicians: findings from Germany, Finland, Portugal, and France
- Interest in so-called alternative medicine is linked to vaccination coverage
- Misinformation and conspiratorial thinking are at the heart of so-called alternative medicine(SCAM)
The questinon I ask myself is, what is the cause and what the effect? Does vaccination hesitancy cause people to use SCAM, or does SCAM use cause vaccination hesitancy? I think that most likely both is true. In addition the two are linked via a common trait, namely that of falling for conspiracy theories. We know that someone believeing in one such theory is likely to believe in other such notions as well. In my view, both vaccination heaitancy and SCAM can qualify to be called a conspiracy theory.