University of East Anglia and the University of Leeds: Informing parents about the measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the most cost-effective way of increasing its uptake

Norwich, UK, 28-7-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Giving parents access to online information about the MMR vaccine is the most cost-effective way of increasing its uptake according to research from the University of East Anglia and the University of Leeds.

A new report published today shows that a website informing parents about the measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine would save the NHS £9.20 per vaccination compared to a GP consultation. It would also be £7.17 cheaper than offering the information in leaflet form.

As well as being more cost efficient, the research shows that an online service would also lead to greater uptake.

It is hoped that the findings will lead to a web-based decision aid being developed as part of NHS guidelines on the MMR vaccine.

Prof Francine Cheater, from UEA’s school of Nursing Sciences, said: “We found that providing online information about the MMR vaccine is a simple, convenient and cost-effective way of engaging with parents and increasing uptake.

“There is a big risk associated with leaving children with no immunisation against these diseases. We hope that by providing the right information, parents will be able to make an informed decision to vaccinate their children against these serious illnesses.”

In the study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), 179 first-time parents whose children were offered the vaccine for the first time were split into three groups – those who had a visit to their GP plus logon details to the website by post, those who had a visit to the GP plus an information leaflet, or those who just had a GP appointment.

Parents were contacted when they were recruited for the study and sent a questionnaire. A second questionnaire was sent two weeks after the first, to enable the researchers to collect data for the economic evaluation.

The research is the first to look at the economics of providing information about the MMR vaccine. Previous studies have shown that web-based information has a positive effect on vaccine uptake.

‘Cost effectiveness of a web-based decision aid for parents deciding about MMR vaccination: a three-arm cluster randomised controlled trial in primary care’ is published in the British Journal of General Practice on July 28.

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