Parental views on childhood vaccination against viral gastroenteritis—a qualitative interview study
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BACKGROUND: Gastroenteritis (GE) causes significant morbidity, especially in young children. A vaccine against rotavirus, a common cause of viral GE (vGE), was added to the childhood immunization schedule in the UK in July 2013 and further related vaccines are under development. AIM: To explore parents' beliefs about vGE and their attitudes towards vaccinating. DESIGN AND SETTING: Qualitative interview study with parents of children who had recently experienced an episode of GE. METHOD: Twenty-eight semi-structured interviews were conducted over the phone with parents. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using standard thematic approaches. RESULTS: Parents varied in their perception of the threat posed by GE, and parents who did not perceive GE as serious were less enthusiastic about vaccines. Other parents were supportive of vaccines in general and considered benefits to their child, their family and the wider community. Many parents said that they lacked knowledge about efficacy and effectiveness of GE vaccines but their underlying belief about the seriousness of illness motivated their attitudes. CONCLUSION: Acceptability of GE vaccines to parents could be improved by providing more information on both the burden of illness and the impact of rotavirus vaccine in other comparable countries.
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