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Safety concerns prevent parents from vaccinating their children, survey finds

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COvID Vax Forty-five percent of parents of young children believe vaccinations are now more essential to protect against infectious diseases than they were before the COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 has made parents more willing to vaccinate children but concerns about safety mean few want to take their child to a medical centre to have jabs, a nationwide survey from GlaxoSmithKline has revealed.

Forty-five percent of parents of young children believe vaccinations are now more essential to protect against infectious diseases than they were before the COVID-19 outbreak, polling carried out by GSK suggests.

The majority (73%) of parents were happy for their children to receive vaccinations during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, just 27% of parents are now comfortable taking their child to a medical centre for vaccinations – down from 91% pre-pandemic.

Parents who were not happy for their children to be vaccinated during the outbreak said they were most concerned about exposing their family (67%) or themselves (42%) to being infected by COVID-19.

The GSK Vaccine Survey was conducted online by Opinion Matters in May 2020, and the 2,511 respondents were all parents of children aged between 9 months and 10 years old.

Dr George Kassianos, National Immunisation Lead, Royal College of General Practitioners and President British Global and Travel Health Association said: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very difficult time for the NHS, healthcare professionals, emergency services and social care, but also for parents and patients.

‘General practitioners and practice nurses have now ensured their premises are safe for children and adults to receive routine vaccinations. I would urge all parents of young children with outstanding immunisations, as well as adults, to contact their GP practice to arrange vaccinations.’

Dr Philip Cruz, UK Vaccines medical director, GSK, said: ‘Parents are confident about the value of vaccines but there’s anxiety about attending medical facilities during the pandemic.

‘As the NHS continues to deal with coronavirus, it’s important that parents feel confident in the safety measures put in place by medical centres, in line with public health and infection control guidelines. It could also be interesting to continue to explore innovative and untraditional locations for vaccine-delivery. Now is not the time for children to miss scheduled immunisations.’

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