Cochrane Summaries

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Face to face interventions to inform or educate parents about early childhood vaccination

Kaufman J, Synnot A, Ryan R, Hill S, Horey D, Willis N, Lin V, Robinson P
Published Online: 
31 May 2013

Childhood vaccination (also described as immunisation) is an important and effective way to reduce childhood illness and death. However, there are many children who do not receive the recommended vaccines because their parents do not know why vaccination is important, do not understand how, where or when to get their children vaccinated, disagree with vaccination as a public health measure, or have concerns about vaccine safety.

Face to face information or education sessions with parents about vaccination is one strategy that may improve vaccination rates and parental knowledge or understanding of vaccination. This review found seven studies with a total of 2978 participants that looked at the effects of face to face vaccination information or education for parents in a mix of high- and low-income countries. The interventions were single- or multi-session educational sessions, delivered to individuals or to groups of parents or soon-to-be parents.

The studies suggest that face to face strategies do not consistently improve either immunisation rates or parent knowledge and understanding of vaccination, but the evidence was low to very low quality for these outcomes. Only one study measured the cost of a face to face case management strategy. In this study, the cost of fully immunising one additional child was eight times the cost of usual care, but the quality of this evidence was very low. No studies measured parents' intention to vaccinate their child or parent experience of intervention, and none of the studies looked at possible harmful outcomes related to the intervention. The results of this review are limited by the small number of included studies, small number of outcomes measured and problems with the way the researchers decided who should receive the intervention and with the way outcomes were assessed.