Director of The Immunisation Advisory Centre Dr Nikki Turner has described for Magic Talk Drive “the perfect storm” of access, misinformation and circumstances that has resulted in the low uptake of vaccinations.
What we’re finding is that there is a whole range of barriers to why people don’t get their children vaccinated.
And then if you add to those barriers any fears or concerns about the vaccine, “particularly the magnifying effect of a pile of misinformation on the internet it will add to their concerns and stop them getting vaccinated.”
It’s not a single linear issue.
Dr Turner explains the extra barriers that deprivation can cause beyond being able to afford the vaccine, even in areas of high deprivation where children’s medical needs are free.
She explains how doctors hours, during working hours, and other medical debts prevent parents from visiting the doctors. Equally low income families often struggle with staying in a permanent home meaning that they do not have a regular doctor.
This is coupled with the realities that there might be more seemingly urgent priorities including; getting food, paying the power bill, or caring for other children's health needs.
Add the fact that it is difficult to get vaccinated outside of working hours, there are a lot of reasons why it’s difficult, and then you hear that maybe vaccines aren’t safe.
Whammy, you’ve got a perfect storm of why people don’t get vaccinated.
Part of the difficulty that Dr Turner helps shine a light on is the difficulty in demonstrating the absence of an illness. As vaccines continue to work successfully the illness they prevent is forgotten and people begin to question the vaccines themselves.
It’s not until people experience or witness first hand the disease re-emerging that they see the benefits of the vaccine again.
You can listen to the full interview above.