Why immunise. Care giver understanding of childhood immunisation.

A. Blair, E. Davies, M. Nebauer, S. Pirozzo, S. Saba, C. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Currently in Australia, both the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Public Health Association have stated that our immunisation uptake levels are not of a high enough percentage within the population to prevent outbreaks of childhood vaccine preventable diseases (1996). While the literature discusses factors that are believed to influence care givers' decisions to vaccinate their children, few Australian studies focus on care giver understanding of childhood diseases and vaccination. The purpose of this descriptive study was to profile care givers who presented their children for vaccination at public health clinics regarding their level of understanding of childhood vaccine preventable diseases. Two hundred and forty eight care givers attending one of six public clinics were asked to respond verbally to a researcher administered questionnaire. Demographic information as well as information related specifically to immunisation was collected from each participant. The major findings of this preliminary study indicate a very low level of knowledge among careers presenting their child for vaccination at the public health clinic. Twenty-three percent of carers had no knowledge regarding the vaccinations that their child was receiving and the disease for which the vaccination was administered. In fact, 18 percent of care givers were unsure of the relationship between vaccination and the likelihood of their child contracting an infectious disease. The personal health record was not found to be useful as an educational resource. Although 99 percent of care givers had the booklet in their possession only 8 percent had referred to it as a source of information. The major sources of information were identified as child health nurses (44%) and hospital midwives (34%). The results of this study highlight the disparity in knowledge levels among care givers with regards to vaccination and the diseases they prevent and the important role of the midwife and child health nurse in disseminating information relating to immunisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalCollegian (Royal College of Nursing, Australia)
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

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