Vaccinations are considered to be one of the most effective public health interventions. The rate of vaccination in developed countries is generally high. However, an increasing number of parents consider vaccines unsafe and unnecessary. The campaigns against vaccines have resulted in the decline in rates of vaccinated children and in the increase in outbreaks of preventable diseases. The time the first vaccines were discovered and implemented, it was when campaigns against them first emerged. Hesitation towards vaccination is a longstanding phenomenon which is closely linked to the socio-cultural background of populations in certain regions around the world. Philosophical or religious beliefs are one of the strongest arguments for refusing, even mandatory, vaccinations. Additionally, suspicion and concern about immunization is quite common. Internationally, in parts of Asia and Africa, the distrust of vaccines is associated sometimes with conspiracy theories. Health professionals play a central role in maintaining public confidence in immunization, a role which is becoming more and more difficult nowadays, since immunization programs have become more complex. Health professionals’ attitude of understanding and acceptance of different beliefs will help to strengthen the relationship of trust between the staff and patients / parents. The efforts of health professionals should focus on providing all the necessary information to enable parents to make informed decisions.
Keywords: Cultural beliefs, safety, skepticism, vaccination