Health professionals remain the most trusted source of advice on immunisation, according to a survey by Public Health England.
Overall 93% of parents agreed healthcare professionals should be trusted, while social media and the internet ranked as the least trusted sources of information. Overall, only 9% of parents have seen, read or heard about something that would make them doubt having their child immunised – a historically low proportion and down from a third (33%) in 2002.
‘In a world where mis-information is so easily spread online we must all speak confidently about the value of vaccines and leave the public in no doubt that they are safe and save lives,’ said Chief Executive at Public Health England, Duncan Selbie. ‘It’s testament to our hard-working doctors and nurses that families trust them to provide accurate facts about the effectiveness of vaccines. They’re our vaccine heroes and we all have a role in supporting them.’
The survey also shows that parents’ confidence in the immunisation programme is very high and the percentage of parents having all of their child’s vaccines done when due is up nearly 20% since 2010 (72%) to an all-time high of 91%. For those parents who didn’t vaccinate when due, most had postponed, rather than refused vaccination, with their child going on to have it at a later date.
‘We are very lucky in England to have one of the most comprehensive programmes in the world and it is really great to see that parents trust our programme and most children are benefiting from this offer,’ said Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, Dr Mary Ramsay.
‘We know from our history that inaccurate claims about the safety and effectiveness can lead to doubts about vaccines – putting people at risk of serious illness. It’s vital that all websites and social media platforms ensure accurate coverage of public health issues like vaccination.’