What we do
We provide free or low-cost information to the community about immunization, advocate for immunization at the state and local level, and support the emergence of a pro-vaccine social network to support healthy communities.
Over the past year, we worked with Boulder County Public Health to better understand how parents make decisions around immunization. We hosted a series of focus groups with local parents who identified as having fully vaccinated their families or partially vaccinating their families. Through our experiences talking to local families, we identified a few common themes among parents. Of note, many of the parents (particularly in the partial vaccine groups) expressed great anxiety around making decisions about immunization once they had their babies. When asked about Support Your Herd’s interest in moving these conversations to the prenatal period before the baby was born, all of the parents were strongly supportive. Some parents admitted that when they found themselves making the decision once the baby was born, the loudest or most consistent voice often won. Even if the quality or validity of that information was lacking.
Even with the overwhelming and universal support from science and medicine, conversations around immunization are very personal. We heard from one mother who said that while she still had some questions about vaccines, she fully vaccinated her children because she could never live with herself if her family caused someone harm or death. Other parents talked about immune-compromised friends and family who require herd immunity to stay safe from illness as the main driver in their decisions to vaccinate.
One of the most overwhelming themes to emerge was how much the parents enjoyed having the safe space to talk about vaccines, and that they wished there were opportunities to discuss immunization before their children were born. Since its inception, Support Your Herd has been focused on providing resources and educational opportunities for families to learn about the life-saving benefits of immunization. We are currently in conversations with Boulder Community Health and the local birth center to offer immunization workshops as part of the typical prenatal education series (baby care, breastfeeding, etc.) to help parents explore this topic in a safe space. We are collaborating with local pediatricians and family practitioners to learn about their patients’ concerns so we can address them in our workshops.
Finally, we are fully committed to identifying the best paths to reach underserved populations in our community to ensure that all families have access to these resources. Our goal is to help families find comfort and confidence in their conversations and decisions around vaccination thereby creating healthier communities.