Children and Young People’s perceptions and attitudes towards vaccines

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A survey titled “Young people’s attitudes towards vaccinations” was conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and funded by MSD UK. A total of 1584 pupils ages 11-16 were surveyed.  

The results show that 92% of young people agree that vaccines are important to their health. However, there are significant disparities in ethnic groups, with 19% of Black people disagreeing compared to 7% of White people.  

While 82% of young people trust vaccines, there are disparities in ethnic groups, with 29% of Asian people, 26% of Black, and 26% of Mixed-race people reporting a lack of trust for vaccines compared to just 15% of white people.  

The survey also found that knowledge and understanding of vaccines increase as the age of participants increases, but again, there were significant disparities in awareness among ethnic groups.  

The survey found that Black pupils reported being most unaware of the available vaccines, followed by Asian pupils. 15% of surveyed reported no awareness of the chickenpox vaccine and the second least known vaccine was the HPV vaccine (with 52% having no awareness).  

Young people rely heavily on websites like the NHS for vaccine information and go to parents first for advice, followed by their GP. Young people were most worried about the side effects of vaccines, followed by the safety of vaccines and the vaccine hurting.  

Many young people said they didn’t know enough about the HPV vaccine, with some 12-16-year-olds mistakenly believing it was for girls only. A lack of knowledge about HPV was reported as the reason some pupils decided not to receive the vaccine, and many reported that they were more likely to have it if it was offered at school.  

Encouraging young people to receive vaccines involved receiving information from someone they trust, and all ethnic groups believed they should decide with their parents whether to have a vaccine (as opposed to by themselves, or just their parents making the decision).   

Read the full report here: https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/vaccinations/children-and-young-adults-attitudes-towards-vaccinations-what-they-know-and-what-they-have-to-say.html  

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