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Factors associated with parental observation of side effects following the child flu vaccine

Since 2012, the flu vaccine has been offered to young children. The aim of this research is to understand what parents believe about the child flu vaccine and to measure whether parents observe side-effects in their child after they have been vaccinated. We are also interested in whether the presence or absence of side-effects affects whether a parent will want their child to be vaccinated again in the future. 

One possible factor that may influence health-related behaviours such as vaccinating ones’ child, are their ‘cognitive biases.’ Cognitive biases are patterns of thinking that we all have that cause different people to interpret the same information in different ways. Cognitive biases have been linked to health-related behaviours in the past, such as applying sun cream. Differences can exist as to whether people detect symptoms in their child, particularly when these symptoms are subtle. In this study, we will also be testing whether there is any difference in patterns of thinking between parents who do and do not detect side effects following the flu vaccine and between those who do and do not vaccinate their child again next flu season (2017/18).

We are looking for parents or guardians of children born between September 1st 2011 and August 31st 2014, who are aged 18 or over and who speak fluent English. 

If you decide to take part, you will be asked to complete a very short questionnaire (less than 10 minutes long) before your child is vaccinated for flu. Three days after your child's vaccination, we will ask you to complete another short questionnaire and short word sorting task (about 30 minutes in total). One month after your child's vaccination, we will ask you to complete a very short questionnaire (about 5 minutes). The questionnaires will include questions about what you have heard about the child flu vaccine, your child’s previous experience with routine vaccinations and whether you think your child is sensitive to medicines as well as whether you thought the flu vaccine gave your child side-effects and if you intend to vaccinate your child again next year. There are also some additional questions that you can complete either after the second or third questionnaire.  Once you have completed all parts of the study, we will donate £20 to one of three charities (your choice of Save the Children, NSPCC or Great Ormond Street Hospital).

At the end of the next flu season (March 2018), we would like to know if you vaccinated your child in the 2017/18 season. In order to do this, we will have to inform your child’s GP that your child has been enrolled in this study: we will not disclose any other information to them. If we cannot confirm your child’s vaccination status from their GP, we will contact you to ask whether or not they were vaccinated.  If you are not happy for us to speak to your child’s GP, then please let the researcher know.


More details about the study can be found here.