Summary of report content
Healthwatch Bexley carried out research into the views of parents with children aged two to three years old, living in Bexley about their thoughts and knowledge concerning the children’s flu vaccine. The consultation period ran from 30th November 2020 to 8th January 2021. Over this period, Healthwatch Bexley had responses from 152 people about the vaccine through the survey they provided. The survey was designed to investigate the potential barriers for the uptake of the children’s flu vaccine in the borough.
Healthwatch Bexley found that there are opportunities to improve awareness, communication and better management of appointments, the responses from the survey showed that the vaccine uptake was quite good amongst parents of 2-3-year-olds. However, as this was a small group of residents it may not be reflective of the general population.
Healthwatch Bexley found that the methods used to contact parents about getting their child vaccinated were confusing. 93% of respondents were not aware that the children’s flu vaccine was in the form of a nasal spray. Over one-third of respondents said that knowing this has affected their decision about the vaccine. There appears to be little awareness of the fact that the vaccine is also available as an animal-free product if requested. 84% of respondents were not aware of this fact. Despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, the number of parents who said they would still be prepared to attend GP surgeries to get their child vaccinated against flu was high.
Healthwatch Bexley recommended that in the run-up to the next flu season, promotion of the annual vaccination programme needs to continue to increase awareness and act as a reminder to get young children vaccinated. Locally, the “Just the Flu” campaign needs to be publicised more by health visitors, nurseries, childminders and GP’s to promote how effective the vaccine is. Before the next flu campaign, the local authority needs to identify which advertising methods can best target parents, ensuring posters and leaflets are available through health visitors, toddler groups, nurseries and other care settings. Next year there should be improved communication to eligible parents about how they will be invited to have their child vaccinated.