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Supporting Effective Immunization Policy: Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Timely Immunization

Statement of Problem

Despite availability and routine recommendation of these vaccines, approximately 42,000 adults and 300 children in the United States still die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. While ongoing vaccination programs help to keep these diseases at bay, some vaccine-preventable diseases have been re-emerging. The shift toward intentional vaccine delay and refusal is directly associated with increased occurrence of preventable diseases for individuals and entire communities. Furthermore, infants and young children with delayed vaccinations are more likely to be under-immunized as they get older.

A rise in vaccine hesitancy—a behavior influenced by lack of trust in the medical community, concerns about vaccine safety, efficacy, necessity or convenience and other issues related to vaccination—has contributed to undervaccination through parental decisions to delay or refuse vaccines for their children. The goal of this research portfolio is to provide a conceptual framework for understanding the multiple factors that impact vaccine acceptance, explore strategies for effective vaccine communication, particularly in an era of increasing access to information and consider the implications of advocacy and policy approaches to address vaccine hesitancy.


Talking Points to Address Vaccine Hesitant Parents


Health care providers can reduce or eliminate the number of patients on alternate vaccination schedules by addressing some of the most common concerns about vaccine safety and efficacy.

Next Steps

Dr. Feemster’s ongoing work continues to build a conceptual framework for vaccine acceptance that can be applied to the development of strategies to optimize implementation of vaccine recommendations. This is especially challenging in an era of rapid information dissemination. In order to combat this,  the public health community must prioritize effective communication strategies.  Dr. Feemster’s ongoing projects continue to evaluate these communications strategies that ensure pediatricians give strong recommendations for the proven vaccine schedule and other projects that aim to understand the how institutional policies affect vaccine acceptance.

This project page was last updated in January 2019.

Suggested Citation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Supporting Effeective Immunization Policy: Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Timely Immunization [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: plug in date accessed here].