Immunisation

Messages to other parents

The overwhelming majority of parents believe in immunisation for their children. We have however included here the views of a few parents who do not believe immunisation is right for their own child based on their personal beliefs. Their views represent a small proportion of the population.

We asked the parents we interviewed what messages or advice they would give to other parents who were making decisions about their child's immunisations. Here is what they said.

When making your decision:

  • The risk from complications of the illnesses are much greater than risks from the immunisation
  • It's natural to worry but it feels so good afterwards knowing your child is safe 
  • Consider the risk to your child of not immunising 
  • Remember how amazing it is that immunisation exists and what it has achieved
  • Consider your responsibility to the general public and to other children 
  • Not a decision to be taken lightly but has to be made 
  • Don't feel pressurised in to making a decision and take time to make sure that you feel happy with the decision you make 
  • Gather information until you are happy with your decision 
  • Do what you think is best for your child 
  • If you've got concerns, discuss them with an expert. Every parent should have access to a trained health professional to chat about the risks of catching the diseases and about the benefits and potential risks of immunisation for their own child, and the population in general.  Parents can talk to their GP, health visitor or practice nurse. There is also an immunisation advisor in each local health protection unit, whom parents can talk to about their child's immunisations.  

When gathering information 

  • It is absolutely right and normal that parents are concerned about the optimal health of their children and it is important that parents seek reliable scientific evidence on which to base their decisions and there is now a mass of this information available.  
  • Start thinking about immunisation when you are pregnant so that you can give immunisation decisions some careful consideration 
  • Gather as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision
  • Don't just listen to what you hear in the media, make sure the facts you use to make your decision are based on well-researched evidence and accurate information. 
  • If you have concerns, talk to your GP as well as the health visitor
  • If you're not satisfied with the information you're being given, or you still have concerns, find a health professional who has time to talk to you or ask to speak to a specialist
  • Talk to other parents who have already made the decision for their own children
  • Talk to older people about their experiences before immunisation was available
  • Often talking to a health professional provides reassurance but if you decide you want to find out more go to the source of the information - read the research articles in medical journals if possible rather than the media reports of it.
  • Be open-minded - don't base your decision only on what the media or the government says
  • Try to get unbiased views. Information from different sources and websites has different agendas. Try to read between the lines to get to the true information. 
  • Make sure you understand the risks and possible side effects of the vaccine

Last reviewed October 2015.
Last updated July 2013

 

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