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Parental acceptance of and preferences for administration of routine varicella vaccination in the UK: a study to inform policy


Objectives. To explore acceptability of and preferences for the introduction of varicella vaccination to the UK childhood immunisation schedule.
Design. We conducted an online cross-sectional survey exploring parental attitudes towards vaccines in general, and varicella vaccine specifically, and their preferences for how the vaccine should be administered.
Participants. 596 parents (76.3% female, 23.3% male, mean age 33.4 years) whose youngest child was aged 0-5 years.
Main outcome measures. Willingness to accept the vaccine for their child and preferences for how the vaccine should be administered (in combination with the MMR vaccine [MMRV], on the same day as the MMR vaccine but as a separate injection [MMR+V], on a separate additional visit).
Results. 74.0% of parents (95% CI 70.2% to 77.5%) were extremely/somewhat likely to accept a varicella vaccine for their child if one became available, 18.3% (95% CI 15.3% to 21.8%) were extremely/somewhat unlikely to accept it and 7.7% (95% CI 5.7% to 10.2%) were neither likely nor unlikely. Reasons provided by parents likely to accept the vaccine included protection from complications of chickenpox, trust in the vaccine/healthcare professionals, and wanting their child to avoid their personal experience of chickenpox. Reasons provided by parents who were unlikely included chickenpox not being a serious illness, concern about side effects, and believing it is preferable to catch chickenpox as a child rather than as an adult. A combined MMRV vaccination or additional visit to the surgery were preferred over an additional injection at the same visit.
Conclusions. Most parents would accept a varicella vaccination. These findings highlight parents’ preferences for varicella vaccine administration, information needed to inform vaccine policy and practice and development of a communication strategy.

Acceptance Date Jan 12, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 29, 2023
Publication Date Feb 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 30, 2024
Journal Vaccine
Print ISSN 0264-410X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 8