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Should my child get a COVID-19 vaccine? A new decision aid to guide parents and carers

A new tool has been developed to help parents and carers make a decision about getting a COVID-19 vaccine for their children. 

Through five simple steps, the COVID-19 vaccine decision aid for children (5-15 years) offers information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the available COVID-19 vaccines to help parents and carers weigh up the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for their children.

The tool was developed by Dr Jane Frawley from the University of Technology Sydney and a group of public health researchers, social scientists and clinicians using the best available research about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. The tool, hosted on the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) website, has been reviewed by technical staff at NCIRS and will be updated as new evidence becomes available.

“With vaccination rates for children now plateauing, this aid may be a welcome conversation starter for families who are hesitant about COVID-19 vaccination for their children. Parents are able to use this tool to share thoughts with healthcare providers, their children and families to assist their decision making,” said Associate Professor Frank Beard, Associate Director, Surveillance, Coverage, Evaluation and Social Science, NCIRS. 

“Doctors, immunisation providers and other health professionals are encouraged to use the tool with patients to answer questions and to initiate open conversations about COVID-19 vaccination and disease, he added. 

“Decision aids are resources that help people make complex medical decisions. They compare the risks associated with getting the disease with the risks associated with the vaccine side-by-side. Discussing risk is important, especially with people who are reluctant to vaccinate, as it helps people see how the risks stack up and make decisions based on evidence. It is also a good way to answer any lingering questions people may have about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr Frawley.

A COVID-19 decision aid for people 16 years of age and older is also available and further enhancements are underway to cater to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.  

Access the COVID-19 vaccine decision aids here