Childhood Trauma May Be Reason Some People Refuse Vaccines, Study Suggests

People who refuse or are reluctant to receive a Covid-19 vaccine may have suffered from traumatic events in childhood, new research suggests.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) involving neglect, domestic violence or alcoholism during childhood are common among people who are less likely to trust NHS information, wear masks during the pandemic or follow rules, a team found. of experts.

Other examples of ACEs include parents separating or divorcing, abandonment, or having a parent with a mental health condition.

The study, published in the open access journal BMJ Opensurveyed 2,285 people over the age of 18 in Wales during lockdown restrictions (December 2020 to March 2021).

Experts looked at nine different ACEs, as well as low confidence in NHS Covid-19 data, whether people supported lifting measures such as social distancing and mandatory face coverings, breaking Covid rules, and vaccine hesitancy.

They found that although 52 percent of those who participated in the study had not experienced any childhood trauma, about one in five had experienced one type, about one in six (17 percent) reported two to three, and one in 10 (10 percent) reported four or more.

The more trauma participants had experienced in childhood, the more likely they were to mistrust information about Covid-19 from the NHS, feel unfairly restricted by the government and support an end to mandatory face masks, the results showed.

The nine ACEs included in the study were: physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, parental separation, exposure to domestic violence; and living with a household member with mental illness, alcohol and/or drug abuse, or a family member in prison.

People were twice as likely to break Covid rules if they had four or more ACEs compared to none, while vaccine hesitancy was three times higher with more than four ACEs compared to none.

More than four ACEs were also associated with wanting to eliminate social distancing.

About 38 percent of people aged 18 to 29 with more than four ACEs were hesitant to get vaccinated, but older age groups were much more likely to get vaccinated. Overall, eight percent of the entire study group would disagree with a vaccine.

About a quarter of all those who participated in the study also admitted to breaking the rules at least occasionally.

The authors concluded: “While responses to the pandemic must consider how best to reach those with ACEs, better long-term compliance with public health advice is another reason to invest in a safe childhood for all children.” .

Previous research has suggested that child maltreatment can undermine confidence in the future, including in health and other public services.

The latest study, funded by Public Health Wales and conducted by public health experts, suggested that if people were suspicious in one area, it was replicated in other areas.

For example, four in 10 people who reported low levels of trust in NHS information on Covid-19 also reported doubts about the vaccine, compared to just six per cent of those who trusted this source of information.

Additional report by PA

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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