An August 2019 survey of 1,015 Mumsnet users revealed their attitudes to vaccinations – and showed that 93% trust the child immunisation programme delivered by the NHS, with just 4% saying they do not.
77% think that immunisations should be compulsory for children who attend school, and some have even paid for additional doses, with the most common being chickenpox (8% of survey respondents), the flu immunisation (5%) and MMR as separate jabs (4%).
The flu inoculation for infants seems to cause slightly more concern than other recommended immunisations, with 9% saying they’ve chosen not to give it to their children for reasons other than medical advice – suggesting that the NHS and Public Health England still have some work to do to convince parents of its necessity.
When it came to the decision to vaccinate, parents found information in many different places but overwhelmingly placed the most trust in information given by health professionals (trusted by 96%). Information from peer-reviewed scientific studies was trusted by 73% and government information campaigns by 83%.
As Boris Johnson sketches plans to tackle anti-vaccination messages on social media sites, the survey suggests that very few parents look to social media for vaccination information. Just 7% said they trusted anti-vaccination posts or videos on social media and online forums. 14% trust information from alternative medicine practitioners, and just 50% trust information from newspapers and television.
Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said: “The huge majority of Mumsnet users are staunchly supportive of vaccinations and understand their importance, both for the health of their own children and for others. That said, some parents of newborns do have concerns around vaccinations, and they often need to work through their anxieties, which isn't always possible in a ten-minute GP appointment. Mumsnet is fully committed to helping these parents get comfortable with vaccinating by allowing them to explore their doubts with their peers but also by providing the very latest NHS vaccination information to our users.”