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

Sherman, S; Lingley-Heath, N; Lai, J; Bedford, H; Sim, J

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


N Lingley-Heath

J Lai

H Bedford


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, 0.4% other; 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
Publication Date Feb 17, 2023
Journal Vaccine
Print ISSN 0264-410X
Electronic ISSN 1873-2518
Publisher Elsevier
Volume 41
Issue 8
Pages 1438-1446
Keywords Varicella; Vaccination; Routine immunisation; Children; Parents; Acceptance; Preference; Vaccine hesitancy; Chickenpox
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