Giving Compass' Take:

• Tara Law explains how research and anecdotal evidence show that the most effective way to convince vaccine skeptics is to thoroughly address their concerns through respectful conversations. 

• How can funders help to drive productive conversations around vaccination, especially in anti-vaccine hotspots? Is convincing anti-vaxxers to vaccinate a sufficiently fast and effective method of increasing vaccination rates? 

• Find out how laws can increase vaccination rates

For 15 years, Kristina Kruzan refused to vaccinate her three children. When the Seattle-area doula’s eldest son was 3, she says, she started to search the internet for more information about vaccines. She realized that there was a lot she didn’t know about vaccines — but when she went to pediatricians for answers, she says, they seemed annoyed that she was even asking questions.

“You want me to poke a needle in my baby’s skin, put chemicals in them and you can’t even tell me what it’s made of?” she says. Without more information, she says, she didn’t feel like she could trust vaccines.

That started to change when she met naturopathic pediatric practitioner Elias Kass at a conference for midwives about 5 years ago. Klass took the time to answer her questions, and gradually convinced her that vaccinations were important to protect her children and the people around them.

“He always makes the time for me; he’s never spoken down to me,” Kruzan says. “Finally I found a person who could say, ‘I know you have concerns. Let me find an answer.’”

After talking to Kass for about a year, she says, she had her three children — who were then about 18, 13 and 7 years old — vaccinated.

Vaccine researchers say the relationship like the one Kass built with Kruzan is key to improving vaccination rates, which have been falling across the country — especially in Washington and Oregon.

Read the full article about talking with vaccine skeptics by Tara Law at TIME Magazine.