July 31, 2014
Vaccine Website Could Increase Uptake
Giving parents access to a dedicated website on the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the most cost-effective way to increase uptake, say experts.
Led by Dr Swati Shourie from Monash University and Dr Sandy Tubeuf from the University of Leeds in the UK, the research is the first to look at the economics of providing information about the MMR vaccine. As well as reducing parents’ concern about immunizing their child, a website is shown to be more cost-effective than a leaflet or a face-to-face visit with a GP.
Dr Shourie said MMR vaccination uptake in Australia is good but a dedicated website could sustain these rates and could help improve parents' confidence in the vaccine, especially in rural areas where it can be difficult for families to access information.
“A website is a simple solution but one that could make a real difference to vaccination uptake. This is a much more convenient way for parents to get information they need about the safety of the MMR vaccine for their children,” she said.
“Many countries, including Australia, are moving towards making medical information and records available online. We believe a dedicated website would complement eHealth, and help parents to make an informed decision.”
In Australia the measles, mumps and rubella measles are all serious viral diseases, which still occur. Current guidelines recommend that children should be immunized with the MMR vaccine at 12 months of age. Children receive their second dose of a combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) vaccine at 18 months of age.
The research, which builds on previous studies that show web-based information has a positive effect on vaccine uptake, surveyed 179 parents. Those recruited to take part in the study were first-time parents whose children were offered the vaccine for the first time from GPs surgeries in the North of England.