4 years ago

Personality and demographic correlates of New Zealanders’ confidence in the safety of childhood vaccinations

Despite extensive scientific evidence on the safety of standard vaccinations, some parents express skeptical attitudes towards the safety of childhood immunisations. This paper uses data from the 2013/14 New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) survey (N =16,642) to explore the distribution, and demographic and personality correlates of New Zealanders’ attitudes towards the safety of childhood vaccinations. Around two thirds (68.5%) of New Zealanders strongly agreed/were confident that “it is safe to vaccinate children following the standard New Zealand immunisation schedule,” 26% were skeptical and 5.5% were strongly opposed. Multiple regression analysis indicated that people lower on Conscientiousness and Agreeableness but higher on Openness to Experience expressed lower confidence about vaccine safety. Having higher subjective health satisfaction, living rurally, being Māori, single, employed and not a parent were all associated with lower confidence, while a higher income and educational attainment were associated with greater confidence. Our findings suggest that the majority of New Zealand adults trust in the safety of scheduled childhood vaccinations, but about one third do express some degree of concern. This finding highlights the importance of improving public education about the safety and necessity of vaccinations.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0264410X17313099

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