New findings from a multi-country survey show that 50 per cent of parents whose child had a scheduled meningococcal disease (meningitis) vaccination appointment, had the appointment delayed or cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ipsos survey on behalf of GSK offers multi-country insight into the pandemic’s impact on meningitis vaccinations over the last 12 months. It considers the views of 4,962 parents of children aged 11-18 years old in the United States and 0-4 years old in the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Australia. All parents interviewed were either sole or joint decision maker for their child’s healthcare decisions.
Results across the eight countries from the online survey that took place between 19 January and 16 February 2021, showed that stay-at-home regulations were the main reason for delayed or cancelled meningitis vaccination appointments so far during the pandemic.
Most parents across the eight countries (95 per cent) also said that their child will resume at least one of ten listed activities involving close contact with others once restrictions are lifted, with 76% stating their child will socialise with groups of friends or family face to face.
Dr. Thomas Breuer, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, GSK Vaccines said: “Knowing meningococcal disease signs and symptoms and seeking advice on all protective options, including vaccination, may help to avoid outbreaks of meningitis on top of the current pandemic. It can also provide further reassurance when restrictions are lifted and children resume close contact with others in indoor settings like nurseries, schools or extended family gatherings.”
The main reasons selected by the 50 per cent of parents surveyed across eight countries who delayed or cancelled appointments were country lockdowns and stay-at-home regulations (63 per cent), concerns of catching COVID-19 in public places (33 per cent), and the current need to care for someone who had contracted COVID-19 – either a family member or themselves (20 per cent).
The survey also found that more than three-quarters of parents (77 per cent) intend to reschedule their child’s meningitis vaccinations. However, 21 per cent said they would not reschedule their child’s meningitis vaccination appointment, with most of those parents (11 per cent) citing concerns over the ongoing fear of contracting COVID-19 in public spaces.
Dr. Thomas Breuer, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, GSK Vaccines continued: said: “While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on our communities and healthcare systems, authorities including the US CDC and World Health Organization, recommend that routine vaccinations continue to be administered. Now that appropriate measures are being taken to support a safe return to clinics, it’s time for us all to start thinking about the relevant and recommended vaccines that family members in our care may have missed or now need.”