The Society for Medical Decision Making invited me to gather a symposium on Vaccine Decision Making.I was glad that Adele Diederich, Steve Lewandowski, and Robert Böhm followed the invitation.

Vaccinations save millions of lives and are considered one of the most successful medical interventions. Most vaccinations protect both the individual and the society, as high vaccine uptake in a population reduces the transmission of infectious diseases. Nevertheless, vaccine hesitancy and refusal is a global problem. Therefore, recent global efforts provide insights into the different reasons for vaccine hesitancy, which can be a result of complacency, inconvenience, a lack of confidence, and a rational calculation of pros and cons. In order to fight vaccine hesitancy, in the last decade scientists have suggested a large amount of interventions that influence vaccine decision making to increase vaccine uptake – such as debunking vaccination myths, stressing disease risks or making appeals to social motives. In the face of recent measles outbreaks, even discussion about compulsory vaccinations recurred.

This session will provide an overview of the reasons for vaccine hesitancy and propose interventions to raise vaccine uptake that focus on the underlying reasons for vaccine hesitancy (Betsch). Additionally, experts on myth-debunking (Lewandowsky) and social benefits of vaccination (Diederich) will provide further insight into the know how of applying the promising approaches. The need – and potential detrimental effects – of compulsory vaccinations will be discussed (Böhm).


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