“We treat humans, not herds!”: A qualitative study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers’ individualized approaches to vaccination in Switzerland

This article examines how CAM practitioners discuss vaccinations with parents in Switzerland, with a focus on childhood vaccinations and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations. We describe how the CAM providers we interviewed (N = 17) and observed during vaccination consultations (N = 18 observations with 5 providers) employed individualized approaches to vaccination. Triangulation of qualitative evidence from interviews and observations allowed us to analyze their discourses and descriptions of experiences (i.e. what they said) and their practices in situ (i.e. what they did). Evidence gathered shows that practitioners framed vaccination decisions as choices at individual and family levels rather than focusing on public health benefits and consequences. They articulated their perspectives in terms of personal clinical experiences and parents' wishes, concerns, and contexts. Such findings challenge recurring narratives depicting CAM providers as categorically anti-vaccination and suggest that approaches to address vaccine hesitancy in clinical practice could benefit from communication and relational approaches similar to those demonstrated by participants in this study. Such approaches include taking time to understand parents’ wishes, involving them in vaccination decisions, and taking their concerns seriously.
Source: Social Science and Medicine - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Source Type: research

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