Sociodemographic factors and attitudes associated with Australian parental acceptance of paediatric COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccine. 2023 Dec 12;41(51):7608-7617. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.11.024. Epub 2023 Nov 22.

Abstract

Introduction: The COVID-19 vaccine coverage among children in countries where COVID-19 vaccines are recommended has been suboptimal. Conflicting information in the media leads to parental anxiety and confusion around COVID-19 vaccination in children. The scepticism expressed by certain experts regarding the importance of COVID-19 vaccines in children has also had a negative impact on parental attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination. This study aimed to understand parental concerns and preferences for paediatric COVID-19 vaccination, and identify potential vaccination promotion ("nudge") interventions to optimise paediatric COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Methods: Mixed methods including Focus Group Discussions and a Discrete Choice Experiment survey were used. The Discrete Choice Experiment survey design was based on a literature review and the findings of Focus Group Discussions. The study was conducted on a nationally representative sample of parents in Australia.

Results: In total, 1039 parents participated in the study. Parents showed strong preferences for a COVID-19 vaccine with lower risk of serious side effects and longer protection duration, followed by higher vaccine effectiveness and delivery via oral tablets. Promotion strategies were similarly preferred by parents. Latent class logit analysis identified three groups, interpretable as COVID-19 vaccine "accepters (35.3%)", "deliberators (31.7%)", and "rejecters (33.1%)". The "deliberators" composed of more parents, residing in metropolitan areas, having concerns about vaccine effectiveness, and believing that disease risks outweigh vaccine benefits than the "accepters". The "rejecters" were more likely to not be vaccinated themselves, and generally have less trust in vaccines than the "accepters". The "deliberators" and "rejecters" were less likely to be parents aged ≥25 years and complete final year of high school than the "accepters".

Conclusions: Parents' sociodemographic factors and vaccine perceptions were associated with different levels of acceptance toward paediatric COVID-19 vaccination, which may help to better understand how to "nudge" vaccine hesitancy.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine; Parents; Vaccine attitudes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Sociodemographic Factors
  • Vaccination

Substances

  • COVID-19 Vaccines