Public health officials and scientists call for improved education of parents in order to increase the

proportion of Australian children who are fully immunised against vaccine-preventable diseases.This paper asks whether it is general education level or specific information about immunisation that is necessary to persuade more parents to ensure that their children are kept  up to date with vaccinations .It gives the results of a small survey (n = 175) that assessed the education levels of parents who chose to immunize and those who chose not to. Mostoften, parents who immunised their children were only taught a general understanding that vaccines protect from diseases . A similar proportion of parents who did and did not immunise were taught the biological basis of vaccination (23% and 19% respectively) . Parents who chose not to immunise were often very highly educated, holding h i gh e r

l e v e l degrees. The reasons  why educated people are more likely to resist scientific information is discussed. The paper concludes that while a general understanding of the protective effects of vaccines is necessary for most parents, specific messages are required to meet the information needs of parents who are conside ring not taking part in the program.

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When education prevents the uptake of science
The case of childhood immunisation in Australia

Cathy Frazer   Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

Public health officials and scientists call for improved education of parents in order to increase the

proportion of Australian children who are fully immunised against vaccine-preventable diseases.This paper asks whether it is general education level or specific information about immunisation that is necessary to persuade more parents to ensure that their children are kept  up to date with vaccinations .It gives the results of a small survey (n = 175) that assessed the education levels of parents who chose to immunize and those who chose not to. Mostoften, parents who immunised their children were only taught a general understanding that vaccines protect from diseases . A similar proportion of parents who did and did not immunise were taught the biological basis of vaccination (23% and 19% respectively) . Parents who chose not to immunise were often very highly educated, holding h i gh e r

l e v e l degrees. The reasons  why educated people are more likely to resist scientific information is discussed. The paper concludes that while a general understanding of the protective effects of vaccines is necessary for most parents, specific messages are required to meet the information needs of parents who are conside ring not taking part in the program.

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