13 March 2017

Parents' attitudes to vaccination

Very topical yet again is the question of vaccination in Australia. Here are three recent publications discussing parental attitudes and practices in this area:

Child Vaccination: perspectives of Australian parents gives the results of the Australian Child Health Poll from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.  This is the source of the media reports about unvaccinated children being refused treatment by health care providers. See the comments at the end of the landing page for discussion about this.  The report of the 2000 families surveyed also showed that 95% of them kept their children's vaccines up to date.

Parental attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and concerns towards childhood vaccinations in Australia: a national online survey reports on a study of 452 parents who responded to a survey in 2012. 92% reported they had kept their children's vaccines up to date, but 52% had concerns. The authors of the paper concluded that GPs need to communicate better with parents to improved their knowledge and trust in vaccination.
Maria Yui Kwan Chow et al, Australian Family Physician 46 (3) : 145-51, March 2017.

And in The Conversation, three public health academics emphasise that Australians' attitudes to vaccination are more complex than a simple 'pro' or 'anti' label.  It cites their own research, plus others (including the two surveys reported above) indicating that parents want more detailed information about vaccination safety. The authors are developing a package of support and information for parents called SKAI: Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation. They have already prepared some factsheets for the Australian Department of Health.

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