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Antivaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy

Join us on AVAXX101 to increase your understanding of vaccine hesitancy, and get equipped to respond to antivaccination claims.

The University of Queensland Logo

There is one session available:

Starts: Apr 19, 2021

Ends: Dec 14, 2021

Enroll now

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–4 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD
  • Institution: UQx
  • Subject: Science
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

In 2019 the World Health Organization listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global health. Vaccine hesitancy is the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate. Even though vaccines are available to many people, doubts about their safety and effectiveness jeopardises important progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.

Numerous countries which had at one time been declared free of vaccine preventable diseases, such as measles, are again experiencing measles outbreaks. Many health workers from around the globe also report encountering parents who are hesitant about having their own children vaccinated. These hesitancies can be fuelled by misinformation about vaccines being harmful or unnecessary, claims that there is a global conspiracy behind vaccines, as well as distrust of government and healthcare professionals.

Such vaccine doubts might seem surprising, because vaccination is one the greatest public health achievements in human history, which saves millions of lives every year. Yet vaccine hesitancy is complex, and there are several central reasons why people choose to delay or decline getting vaccinated.

This course will enable you to understand this complicated issue and what lies behind vaccine hesitancy. It will also equip you with key skills for responding to antivaccination claims. You will engage with the science of vaccination and learn crucial information about why vaccines are safe and effective. Additionally, the course examines the most well-known vaccine myths and antivaccination persuasion strategies. These myths include stories about vaccines causing autism, questions about whether too many vaccines can overload a child’s immune system, as well conspiratorial claims that vaccines are major money-makers for BigPharma, government and doctors.

The course will also prepare you with the most effective strategies for addressing vaccine doubts expressed by hesitant patients, friends, or relatives. You will gain practical advice from leading research on vaccine refusal and learn about ways to improve vaccine advocacy in the face of immunisation hesitancies.

This isn’t just a course about vaccines and antivaccination, but it’s a MOOC dedicated to confronting one of the most significant threats to global health today.

What you’ll learn

Upon successfully completing this course, students will:

  1. Examine the science of vaccines, including vaccination safety and effectiveness.
  2. Recognise why some people are hesitant about vaccines.
  3. Identify twelve vaccine myths, and seven antivaccination persuasion strategies.
  4. Recognise what not to do when trying to dispel vaccine myths.
  5. Investigate ways of responding effectively to vaccine hesitant individuals.

Meet your instructors

The University of Queensland

Dr Tom Aechtner Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Queensland

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you’ve gained for $99 USD

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified: Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution’s logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects.
  • Easily Shareable: Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
  • Proven Motivator: Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course
  • Support our MissionedX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally

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