UK: Parents’ vaccine side effects fear ‘fuelled by social media’

25 Jan, 2019
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Fear of a vaccine’s side effects is the top reason for people refusing them, a report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) suggests.

Among parents, this was fuelled by social media, with up to half exposed to negative messages about vaccines.

The Society’s report called for social media platforms and the press to do more to combat “fake news”.

Millions of lives have been saved through vaccination, and side effects are rare, it said.

“The spread of misinformation – if it impacts uptake of vaccines – could severely damage the public’s health,” said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH.

England’s chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies recently said parents should ignore myths spread by anti-vaccine campaigners and get their children vaccinated.

What’s in the report?

It contains the findings of surveys of nearly 5,000 people across the UK on their awareness and attitudes towards vaccines, such as MMR, the flu jab and HPV.

They include 2,600 parents, 2,000 other adults and more than 200 healthcare professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists and GPs.

What do parents say?

On the whole, the report found parents’ attitudes to vaccines were largely positive, with 90% getting their children vaccinated routinely.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019 at 9:20 am and is filed under Latest News.

Literature Literature archive

Lee TH, McGlynn EA, Safran DG. 2019 JAMA 321(6):539–540. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19186
MJ Bayefsky, LOGostin 2018 JAMA Pediatr. online Dec 28, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4283
K I Hammanyero, S Bawa, F Braka, et al. 2018 BMC Public Health Vol 18 (Suppl 4) :1306

Videos Video archive

Key figures share their perspectives on a controversy that led to the suspension of Ebola vaccine clinical trials in Ghana.

Drs. Heidi Larson and Pauline Paterson of the Vaccine Confidence Project join episode 50 of the Public Health United podcast with Nina Martin, November 2017.

Drs. Larson and Paterson join a discussion on vaccine confidence at Hong Kong University.  September, 2015.

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