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What to do if a caregiver refuses immunization

In this Audio Job Aid two frontline workers, Layla and Ahmed, are helping each other think about what to say to caregivers who refuse to have their children immunized. Layla and Ahmed discuss different approaches and IPC skills that can be applied when interacting with caregivers who are hesitant to have their children vaccinated.

Key Messages in AJA 6:

  • If a caregiver refuses immunization for their child, the first and most important thing is to understand the reason why the caregiver does not want to have their child immunized.
  • Once you understand the caregiver’s specific concerns, then you can determine the most appropriate response, which may include:
    • Providing additional facts and information about immunization or about specific vaccinations
    • Referring caregivers to people whom they trust to discuss their concerns
    • Engaging community or religious leaders in conversation
    • Making improvements to service delivery to make vaccination sessions more convenient and to help caregivers feel that they can count on the quality of vaccination services
  • When engaging with caregivers who are refusing to immunize their children, it is essential to practice key interpersonal communication (IPC) skills, particularly showing respect, exercising empathy, listening carefully, acknowledging the caregiver’s feelings and taking time to respond appropriately and thoroughly.
6. What to do if caregiver refuses immunization