Vaccine hesitancy is complex and multifactorial and a threat to global health. Uptake of some recommended childhood immunisations in Ireland remains below World Health Organisation targets. The aim of this study was to determine factors associated with vaccine uptake in Ireland.
A cross-sectional, national survey of parental attitudes towards childhood vaccination for children aged 0 to 48 months was conducted between June and August 2021 (N = 855). A descriptive analysis of questionnaire responses was conducted. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to identify the association of demographic parental characteristics and parental vaccine attitude scores with a delay in or lack of parental vaccine acceptance.
There was a strongly positive sentiment towards childhood vaccinations. Self-reported uptake of recommended vaccines was 96.1 % with a strong belief in the importance (94.4 %) and safety (89.2 %) of vaccines. Trust in official vaccine information sources was high; 91.5 % and 89.2 % reported trust in the vaccine information provided by healthcare professionals and the Health Service Executive (HSE) respectively. The most commonly identified reasons for missed vaccines were concerns about safety and vaccine side effects. In multivariable regression analysis, parental trust in official vaccine information sources was a significant predictor of vaccine acceptance. For every one unit increase in the median parental trust in official vaccine information score, the odds of a parent having reduced vaccine acceptance decreased significantly (aOR 0.27 95 % CI 0.16, 0.46, p < 0.001).
Understanding parental attitudes towards vaccination will inform the development of evidence-informed, targeted interventions to increase childhood immunisation uptake. Vaccine information for parents should focus on vaccine safety and public health action should be taken to build trust and engage communities in order to increase and sustain the uptake of childhood vaccines delivered as part of the national childhood primary immunisation programme in Ireland.

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