Media and internet influences on parental decision making related to vaccination.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Vaccinations have been one of the greatest public health achievements of all time and have dramatically lowered rates of communicable diseases around the world. The lower prevalence of previously common infectious diseases is due to vaccinations. Perhaps a victim of their own success, vaccines have seen a drop in uptake as the public’s view of risk versus benefit has altered. The rise of the informed health consumer has grown alongside the evolution of the internet and parents are now able to carry out extensive research before committing to getting their child vaccinated. However, the readily available information on vaccine risks or side effects, including the rare but serious ones, may cause parents to choose not to vaccinate their child. With the increase of Web 2.0, the interactive and user generated websites, has come an increase of vocal anti-vaccination groups. An exploratory study completed in this dissertation found that New Zealand parents researching online for vaccine information found mostly websites discussing the pros and cons of the vaccine. These websites often gave honest information on both the disease and vaccine. While encouraging there needs to be further research completed into the online methods of New Zealand parents when researching vaccine information. A matrix of common online tactics of anti-vaccination groups has been included as a tool for nurses to use when discussing vaccine research with parents.