Health care professionals uneducated and uncertain when it comes to vaccine advice

In a study conducted among Canadian pharmacists, medical students, and nurses study conductors worked to prove a very valid fear. When it comes to giving advice in regards to vaccines, their risks, and potential side effects, the largest majority of study participants admitted that they feel under prepared and uncertain. Titled The Vaxed Project: An Assessment of Immunization Education In Canadian Health Professional Programs, and published through the website vaccinenews.com, researchers make known what has long been suspected by every concerned parent who ever asked the hard questions and was left without a solid answer–the majority of the medical field is not prepared to handle vaccine questions and concerns and the majority of schools only cover the topic vaguely.

Study conductors sent a survey to every school of nursing, medicine and pharmacy in Canada, and based on the results, they hope to improve education regarding vaccines in all of these programs. The survey was used to assess knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding each program’s individual immunization curriculum. Responses from medical, nursing and pharmacy programs were 18%, 48%, and 56% respectively. Hours of study varied greatly between disciplines and programs. Some programs spent less than one hour on the topic, others reported spending more than 50 hours. Very few schools actually reported having clear learning objectives or skills check offs when it came to vaccinations, while many did cover vaccine preventable illnesses, and clinical techniques for administration. The study showed a surprising result–74% of study respondents said that they did not feel comfortable or adequately trained to discuss vaccination side effects and risks with patients and 21% said they felt that they did not receive enough overall training on the issue during their education.

For the many concerned parents who have asked question after question only to be turned away by indifferent physicians or other health care professionals, the experience is frustrating to say the least. For those who have suffered injuries at the hand of a vaccination and cannot find an ally in their family doctor or otherwise the experience is isolating. In reality the real issue may be not that health care providers don’t care, but instead that they don’t know. Important research like The Vaxed Project prove that there are risks when it comes to always heeding the advice of a medical professional that may or may not have received proper training to make the necessary suggestions or give advice.

For many people, the trusted advice of a physician is taken as being the most reliable, and accurate. While in many cases a physician is an excellent resource, parents should also take into consideration the need for self-study and research. As guardians and safe keepers of those younger, it is essential that each and every child have a trusted adult who will look out for what is most beneficial, and this may require personal research and study before making that appointment for vaccinations.

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