Providing parents accurate clinical information about vaccines online and providing digital access to vaccine experts can help improve parents’ attitudes about vaccinating their children, says a Kaiser Permanente study.

Providing parents accurate clinical information about vaccines online and providing digital access to vaccine experts can help improve parents’ attitudes about vaccinating their children, says a Kaiser Permanente study.

Kaiser Permanente studied 1,093 participants, who were recruited during pregnancy, were randomly assigned to one of three study groups: website with vaccine information and interactive social media components; website with vaccine information only; or usual care only.

There is a need to address parents’ concerns in a convenient, user-friendly forum that they trust.

Researchers created a website that presented easy-to-understand information on the risks and benefits of vaccination, recommended vaccination schedules, vaccine ingredients and vaccine laws. Researchers also built an interactive social media component within the website that included an expert-moderated blog, discussion forum, chat room and an “ask a question” portal where parents could ask experts questions about vaccines.

“It is certainly understandable that some parents have concerns about vaccinating their children because there is a lot of misinformation out there, especially on social media platforms. It is clear there is a need to address parents’ concerns in a convenient, user-friendly forum that they trust,” says Matthew Daley, MD, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research.

Parents were given a survey to assess their vaccine-related attitudes at three points:

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  • At enrollment in the study
  • When their child was 3-5 months old
  • When their child was 12-15 months old

Among all study participants, 945 parents completed all three surveys. When comparing the first survey given during pregnancy to the second survey given when their children were 3-5 months of age, parents who were hesitant about vaccinations.

When comparing those parents’ responses in the first survey to the last survey given when their children were 12-15 months of age, the website with vaccine information and interactive social media components and website with vaccine information only showed a significant reduction in parental concerns about vaccination risks compared to usual care. This study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and conducted by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research.

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