Recent trends of ‘vaccine hesitancy’ have resulted in calls for public health campaigns to improve immunisation uptake to World Health Organisation (WHO) targets. One potential strategy to improve uptake is to offer opportunistic vaccination to those hospital in-patients who have missed them. We aimed to evaluate parental and staff attitudes about introducing such a service for hospitalised children.
Cross sectional questionnaire-based design.
We developed and distributed a questionnaire for parents/guardians of paediatric inpatients aged 5 years and under, and a questionnaire for frontline paediatric staff (including medical, nursing and allied health professionals). Vaccination rates were assessed through discussion with parents and by reviewing the personal child health record.
One-hundred families and 100 paediatric staff participated. Local vaccination rates were significantly below the WHO target (P < 0.001), particularly for the Bacille Calmette-Guerine (BCG) vaccination (P = 0.001). Both parents (89/100, 89%) and staff (87/100, 87%) regarded inpatient opportunistic vaccination acceptable. Parents of children with chronic disease reported a potentially higher rate of missed vaccinations, stating reasons of frequent illness and inpatient stays. The majority of staff (81/95, 85.3%) would be willing to support inpatient vaccination if appropriately trained. A significant minority had reservations.
Opportunistic vaccination is a strategy deemed acceptable by the majority of parents and staff. Children with chronic disease would especially benefit from opportunistic inpatient immunisation. In order to facilitate this, improved digital access to primary care vaccination records and investment in staff training, education and support would be required.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.