WA researchers want to speak to ECEC educators about vaccine hesitancy
With the introduction of mandated COVID-19 vaccines for many in the Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, either through public health orders, or through directives from employers, vocalisations about vaccine hesitancy have grown.
For some educators, the prospect of being mandated to receive a vaccine has sat uncomfortably, leaving them to question their role within the profession, or seeking support from others with similar feelings.
A team of researchers from Western Australia are seeking to understand more about this thinking, particularly from those in ECEC, as they “represent people who have a unique experience of the pandemic”.
Early findings from the Coronavax study, which is being led by a research team from VaxPolLab at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at Telethon Kids Institute, indicate that having family and friends who are uncertain about COVID-19 vaccination is contributing to hesitancy.
Research leader Associate Professor Katie Attwell said it was important to understand and listen to people’s concern about the vaccine in order to design public policies that promote vaccination and help inspire confidence in those who were still uncertain.
“Western Australia’s vaccination rate is going up but there are still a small minority of people in the community who are waiting or feeling hesitant about the vaccine,” she said.
“With the opening up of the Western Australian border around the corner, it’s important to understand their thoughts and feelings, as well as to help develop resources that demonstrate to people that the vaccines are safe and effective.”
The researchers want to give people the opportunity to share their voice, thoughts and beliefs about the vaccines in a meaningful way.
In particular, researchers want to speak with ECEC professionals to understand how their experiences of the pandemic and vaccine rollout, including the mandate to vaccinate, have affected them personally.
“The insight we gather through this work will help shape the strategy for reaching out to different groups in the community to ensure they get the information they need about COVID-19 vaccination,” Associate Professor Attwell said.
The study will involve a five-minute pre-screening survey, and a one-on-one, hour-long, recorded interview with an experienced and non-judgmental researcher. All information provided by participants will remain confidential.
Participants will receive a $20 supermarket gift voucher.
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