MMR vaccine and parental views: Qualitative research
Summary of findings
Immunisation is generally the mother’s responsibility and it is a burden that weighs heavily on all mums alike. Whilst the majority of respondents are happy in general with healthcare provision (though a key issue was long waiting times for appointments with young children, deemed unacceptable), there is a consensus among all target groups except BME and Eastern European groups, that NHS information on MMR does not recognise the pressure this decision puts them under.
A more sensitive, collaborative approach is required across all groups, using independent peers from each respective audience, to advocate MMR uptake and provide a voice of understanding, recognition and support.
This needs to be executed in a consistent fashion, in print, alongside immunisation request letters, digitally, via peers and in person, via an appropriate healthcare professional equipped to engage with each group. In all cases, except affluent/older parents the drive to MMR uptake is far greater than the barriers, suggesting great scope for marketing interventions. The most difficult group however is affluent / older mums where the scale is more balanced.
The research found that there was no consistency with regard to uptake, other than the fact it related to mistrust of the NHS / Government and a desire to react to being told what to do. Half our sample had chosen to proceed with the MMR vaccine.
It identified a lack of consistency between knowledge / awareness of MMR and information vs uptake. BME parents were the highest performing group in terms of MMR uptake, yet knowledge of what MMR is was non-existent. This group trusted the NHS and took the advice of professionals without question.
Conversely, affluent / older parents (most affected by the media hype) had the highest levels of awareness and understanding, having carried out intensive research and collaborated online with other mothers, yet take up was relatively low.
- To explore the factors that influence and motivate parents in respect of their decision to have their children immunised against MMR, particularly from hard to reach groups.
- The research to be used as the basis for a strategy for a local MMR social marketing campaign.
There have been national and local concerns over falling immunisation rates.
Following a decade of relatively low vaccination uptake nationally, there is now a large number of children who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated with MMR. Both Doncaster and Sheffield have experienced several outbreaks of measles as a consequence. A social market strategy is required to help increase the uptake of the MMR vaccination, and research and insight is needed to inform the development of this.
A social marketing insight report to inform development and shape a social marketing campaign to increase the uptake of MMR vaccinations in Sheffield and Doncaster - particularly amongst hard to reach groups.
- Review of national policy
- Review of local documentation
- Academic literature review
- Review of previous campaigns and successful strategies
- 6x focus groups, representative of age and ethnicity, all female parents. 58 respondents in all.
- Young parents (16)
- Homeless parents (8)
- Traveller parents (8)
- BME parents (8)
- Eastern European parents (18)
- 20x interviews. Representative of age and ethnicity. All female parents:
- Affluent / older parents (15)
- Traveller parents (5)
- 8x stakeholders
Data collection methodology
- 6x focus groups comprising 58 parents (female)
- 20x telephone interviews with parents (female)
- 8x telephone interviews with stakeholders
Sheffield and Doncaster
March to May 2009