University of Auckland: Survey asks Kiwis to express vaccine preferences

As part of an effort to combat misinformation and vaccine hesitancy, a team of researchers at the University of Auckland is asking Kiwis what they need to know about vaccines and their preferences for vaccination.

The researchers from the School of Pharmacy and School of Population Health, Dr Amy Chan, Dr Samantha Marsh and Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris, supported by Marvin Tao, a medical student, have launched New Zealand’s first survey aiming to find out about Kiwis’ preferences for vaccines.

“Despite the life and cost-saving potential of vaccines, vaccines remain a controversial topic for some,” says Dr Amy Chan, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in the School of Pharmacy.

“Much of the controversy and vaccine hesitancy is driven by lack of available information to support informed decision-making – information may be incorrect, outdated or, where information is available, it may not be answering the questions people actually have,” Amy says.

“Answering these questions could help people weigh up the different risks and benefits, and make a decision they feel confident about.”

Similar studies have been conducted overseas in the UK, Europe, Asia, US and Australia looking into people’s preferences for vaccines, such as the flu, chickenpox, meningitis or general vaccines. However, no studies have been run in New Zealand, so, this is the first study that looks at what features Kiwis want in a vaccine.

The study is an online survey and takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It can be completed on your phone, laptop or tablet.

“It’s fun – a bit like an online dating app,” says Amy. “Unlike traditional surveys, this one involves a series of choices where you’ll get to click on the ‘left’ or ‘right’ choice (or neither) to indicate which vaccine features are more important to you.

“The choices are pretty fun to do and, whilst some of it may seem repetitive, this is deliberate as each of the choices you make will be ranked against each other at the end,” she says.

The findings will help inform policy advisors, health promotion and communication organisations, and health providers about what information Kiwis need and want to know about vaccines, what they want in an ‘ideal’ vaccine, and will inform future use of vaccines.

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