'Avoiding harm to others' considerations in relation to parental MMR vaccination discussion

an analysis of an online chat forum.

Zoe Christina Skea, Vikki Ann Entwistle, I. Watt, Elizabeth M Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Vaccination against contagious diseases is intended to benefit individuals and contribute to the eradication of such diseases from the population as a whole. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is widely recommended for all children with the aim of protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella. However, within the UK, there has been significant controversy surrounding its safety.

This paper presents findings from a UK study of discussions about MMR in an online chat forum for parents. We observed archived discussions (without posting any messages) and conducted a thematic analysis to explore in more detail how participants discussed particular topics. Most participants were female, had young children, lived in the UK. They had reached a range of decisions regarding MMR vaccination.

This analysis focuses on discussions about 'avoiding harm to others,' which were important considerations for many of the participating parents. In the context of concerns about MMR safety, participants expressed a desire to both (a) protect their own child and (b) help protect others by contributing to herd immunity. Parents made a distinction between healthy and vulnerable children which had important implications for their views about who should bear the burden of vaccination. Some parents were quite critical of those who did not vaccinate healthy children, and urged them to do so on grounds of social responsibility.

Our findings suggest that social scientists with an interest in vaccination practice should attend carefully to lay understandings of herd immunity as a public good and views about obligations to others in society. Policy makers, too, might consider giving more emphasis to herd immunity in vaccination promotional material, although attention should be paid to the ways in which parents distinguish between healthy and Vulnerable children. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1390
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume67
Issue number9
Early online date12 Aug 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • UK
  • measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • avoiding harm to others considerations
  • online discussion forum
  • vaccination
  • parents
  • internet
  • risk
  • immunization
  • controversy
  • support
  • issues
  • health

Cite this

'Avoiding harm to others' considerations in relation to parental MMR vaccination discussion : an analysis of an online chat forum. / Skea, Zoe Christina; Entwistle, Vikki Ann; Watt, I.; Russell, Elizabeth M.

In: Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 67, No. 9, 11.2008, p. 1382-1390.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{0227146448e4402caf1caac82f0a3cd2,
title = "'Avoiding harm to others' considerations in relation to parental MMR vaccination discussion: an analysis of an online chat forum.",
abstract = "Vaccination against contagious diseases is intended to benefit individuals and contribute to the eradication of such diseases from the population as a whole. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is widely recommended for all children with the aim of protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella. However, within the UK, there has been significant controversy surrounding its safety.This paper presents findings from a UK study of discussions about MMR in an online chat forum for parents. We observed archived discussions (without posting any messages) and conducted a thematic analysis to explore in more detail how participants discussed particular topics. Most participants were female, had young children, lived in the UK. They had reached a range of decisions regarding MMR vaccination.This analysis focuses on discussions about 'avoiding harm to others,' which were important considerations for many of the participating parents. In the context of concerns about MMR safety, participants expressed a desire to both (a) protect their own child and (b) help protect others by contributing to herd immunity. Parents made a distinction between healthy and vulnerable children which had important implications for their views about who should bear the burden of vaccination. Some parents were quite critical of those who did not vaccinate healthy children, and urged them to do so on grounds of social responsibility.Our findings suggest that social scientists with an interest in vaccination practice should attend carefully to lay understandings of herd immunity as a public good and views about obligations to others in society. Policy makers, too, might consider giving more emphasis to herd immunity in vaccination promotional material, although attention should be paid to the ways in which parents distinguish between healthy and Vulnerable children. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "UK, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), avoiding harm to others considerations, online discussion forum, vaccination, parents, internet, risk, immunization, controversy, support, issues, health",
author = "Skea, {Zoe Christina} and Entwistle, {Vikki Ann} and I. Watt and Russell, {Elizabeth M}",
year = "2008",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.07.006",
language = "English",
volume = "67",
pages = "1382--1390",
journal = "Social Science & Medicine",
issn = "0277-9536",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "9",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - 'Avoiding harm to others' considerations in relation to parental MMR vaccination discussion

T2 - an analysis of an online chat forum.

AU - Skea, Zoe Christina

AU - Entwistle, Vikki Ann

AU - Watt, I.

AU - Russell, Elizabeth M

PY - 2008/11

Y1 - 2008/11

N2 - Vaccination against contagious diseases is intended to benefit individuals and contribute to the eradication of such diseases from the population as a whole. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is widely recommended for all children with the aim of protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella. However, within the UK, there has been significant controversy surrounding its safety.This paper presents findings from a UK study of discussions about MMR in an online chat forum for parents. We observed archived discussions (without posting any messages) and conducted a thematic analysis to explore in more detail how participants discussed particular topics. Most participants were female, had young children, lived in the UK. They had reached a range of decisions regarding MMR vaccination.This analysis focuses on discussions about 'avoiding harm to others,' which were important considerations for many of the participating parents. In the context of concerns about MMR safety, participants expressed a desire to both (a) protect their own child and (b) help protect others by contributing to herd immunity. Parents made a distinction between healthy and vulnerable children which had important implications for their views about who should bear the burden of vaccination. Some parents were quite critical of those who did not vaccinate healthy children, and urged them to do so on grounds of social responsibility.Our findings suggest that social scientists with an interest in vaccination practice should attend carefully to lay understandings of herd immunity as a public good and views about obligations to others in society. Policy makers, too, might consider giving more emphasis to herd immunity in vaccination promotional material, although attention should be paid to the ways in which parents distinguish between healthy and Vulnerable children. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

AB - Vaccination against contagious diseases is intended to benefit individuals and contribute to the eradication of such diseases from the population as a whole. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is widely recommended for all children with the aim of protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella. However, within the UK, there has been significant controversy surrounding its safety.This paper presents findings from a UK study of discussions about MMR in an online chat forum for parents. We observed archived discussions (without posting any messages) and conducted a thematic analysis to explore in more detail how participants discussed particular topics. Most participants were female, had young children, lived in the UK. They had reached a range of decisions regarding MMR vaccination.This analysis focuses on discussions about 'avoiding harm to others,' which were important considerations for many of the participating parents. In the context of concerns about MMR safety, participants expressed a desire to both (a) protect their own child and (b) help protect others by contributing to herd immunity. Parents made a distinction between healthy and vulnerable children which had important implications for their views about who should bear the burden of vaccination. Some parents were quite critical of those who did not vaccinate healthy children, and urged them to do so on grounds of social responsibility.Our findings suggest that social scientists with an interest in vaccination practice should attend carefully to lay understandings of herd immunity as a public good and views about obligations to others in society. Policy makers, too, might consider giving more emphasis to herd immunity in vaccination promotional material, although attention should be paid to the ways in which parents distinguish between healthy and Vulnerable children. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KW - UK

KW - measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

KW - avoiding harm to others considerations

KW - online discussion forum

KW - vaccination

KW - parents

KW - internet

KW - risk

KW - immunization

KW - controversy

KW - support

KW - issues

KW - health

U2 - 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.07.006

DO - 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.07.006

M3 - Article

VL - 67

SP - 1382

EP - 1390

JO - Social Science & Medicine

JF - Social Science & Medicine

SN - 0277-9536

IS - 9

ER -