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1.
Australian Journal of Political Science ; : 1-19, 2022.
Article in English | Taylor & Francis | ID: covidwho-1728771
2.
Int J Health Policy Manag ; 2022 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1727446

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccine hesitancy is a global problem with diverse local policy responses, from voluntaristic to coercive. Between 2015 and 2017, California, Australia, France, and Italy increased the coerciveness of their childhood vaccine regimes. Despite this apparent convergence, there is little evidence of imposition, policy learning, or diffusion - the drivers that are usually discussed in scholarly literature on policy convergence. The fact that the four governments were oriented across the political spectrum, with quite different political and institutional systems, further indicates an empirical puzzle. METHODS: To better understand the drivers of enhanced vaccine mandates, a crucial issue during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global rollout, this article engages with four case studies assembled from qualitative analysis of semi-structured in-country interviews and document analysis between November 2018 and November 2020. Key informants had specific expert knowledge or played a role in the introduction or implementation of the new policies. Interview transcripts were coded inductively and deductively, augmented with extensive analysis of legal, policy, academic and media documents. RESULTS: The case analysis identifies two key and interacting elements in government decisions to tighten vaccine mandates: functional and political pressures. Policy-makers in Italy and France were primarily driven by functional challenges, with their vaccination governance systems under threat from reduced population compliance. California and Australia did not face systemic threats to the functioning of their systems, but activists utilised local opportunities to heighten political pressure on decision makers. CONCLUSION: In four recent cases of high-income jurisdictions making childhood vaccination policies more coercive, vaccine hesitancy alone could not explain why the policies arose in these jurisdictions and not others, while path dependency alone could not explain why some jurisdictions with mandates made them more coercive. Explanation lies in restrictive mandates being attractive for governments, whether they face systemic functional problems in vaccine governance, or political pressures generated by media and activists. Mandates can be framed as targeting whole populations or localised groups of refusers, and implemented without onerous costs or policy complexity.

3.
Soc Sci Med ; 291: 114502, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1720945

ABSTRACT

Childhood vaccine refusal is a globally contentious topic, with some jurisdictions addressing it with punitive policies. Media discourse influences how solutions are framed by implying blame - a process known as framing. We examined Australian media discourse on vaccine rejection over a period in which mandatory childhood vaccination policies were discussed and introduced, focusing on the common Australian pejorative term 'anti-vaxxer'. We mapped frequency of use from January 2008 to December 2018. We then searched Factiva for print media articles on childhood vaccination and parents published in that period, searching separately for articles using and not using 'anti-vaxxer' and variants. We constructed a set of 85 articles that did, and 85 articles date-matched that did not use the term to make comparisons and conducted a frame analysis of each set. 'Anti-vaxxer' was absent in Australian media discourse 2008-2010, rising to a peak of 247 articles using the term at the height of legislative change in 2017. Parents were framed as: 1) deviant "others"; 2) ignorant and in need of informing; 3) vulnerable and in need of protection from anti-vaccination activists; 4) thoughtful, critical, informed, and in need of agency and respect; 5) entitled, privileged and selfish; and finally, 6) lacking access to vaccination, rather than being unwilling. Articles using 'anti-vax' terms were more likely to negatively characterise non-vaccinating parents, while articles not including this language were more likely to frame them as thoughtful or lacking access. This study clearly demonstrates strategic use of pejoratives in the Australian mass media around a time of pressure for legislative change and conflation of anti-vaccination activists with non-vaccinating parents. We suggest fundamental changes to how non-vaccination is framed and dealt with in the media to curb polarization and fostering more respectful dialogue, and better social and public health outcomes.


Subject(s)
Vaccination Refusal , Vaccines , Australia , Humans , Mass Media , Vaccination
6.
Vaccine ; 40(4): 594-600, 2022 01 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586279

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 8th April 2021, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) made the Pfizer-BioNtech (Comirnaty) vaccine the "preferred" vaccine for adults in Australia aged < 50 years due to a risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following AstraZeneca vaccination. We sought to understand whether this impacted COVID-19 vaccine intentions. METHOD: We undertook qualitative interviews from February - April 2021 before and after the program change with 28 adults in Perth, Western Australia. Using our COVID-19 vaccine intentions model, we assessed changes in participants' COVID-19 vaccine intention before and after the program change. Participants were classified as 1) 'acceptors': no concerns about COVID-19 vaccine safety, efficacy, access and would accept whatever vaccine is offered, 2) 'cautious acceptors': some concerns and would prefer a particular vaccine brand but would accept whatever is offered, 3) 'Wait awhile': for more data, easier access, for another vaccine brand, a greater perceived COVID-19 threat or until mandatory, or 4) 'refuser': no intention to vaccinate due to concerns about safety and/or efficacy. RESULTS: Before the change, 7/18 of those aged < 50 years were 'acceptors,' 10/18 were 'cautious acceptors' and 1/18 was 'wait awhile.' Overall, 14/18 participants had the same COVID-19 vaccine intention after the change; 4/18 became more concerned. For those aged ≥ 50 years and before the change, 5/10 were 'acceptors' and 5/10 were 'cautious acceptors.' After the change, 8/10 still had the same COVID-19 vaccine intention; 2/10 became more cautious. The major concern before the program change was COVID-19 vaccines having different vaccine efficacy; the concern pivoted to safety. CONCLUSION: The majority of participants were 'cautious acceptors' who intended on being vaccinated; many had this intention before and after the program change. The Australian government, health care providers and media need to better address COVID-19 vaccine concerns to assist those with COVID-19 vaccine intentions receive a vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Adult , Australia , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Intention , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
8.
Vaccine ; 2021 Nov 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541011

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 is prompting governments and the private sector to adopt mandates. However, there has been little conceptual analysis of the types of mandates available, nor empirical analysis of how the public thinks about different mandates and why. Our conceptual study examines available instruments, how they have been implemented pre-COVID, and their use for COVID-19 globally. Then, our qualitative study reports the acceptability of such measures in Western Australia, which has experienced very limited community transmission, posing an interesting scenario for vaccine acceptance and acceptability of measures to enforce it. METHOD: Our conceptual study developed categories of mandates from extant work, news reports, and legislative interventions globally. Then, our empirical study asked 44 West Australians about their attitudes towards potential mandatory policies, with data analysed using NVivo 12. RESULTS: Our novel studies contribute richness and depth to emerging literature on the types and varying acceptability of vaccine requirements. Participants demonstrated tensions and confusion about whether instruments were incentives or punishments, and many supported strong consequences for non-vaccination even if they ostensibly opposed mandates. Those attached to restrictions for disease prevention were most popular. There were similar degrees of support for mandates imposed by employers or businesses, with participants showing little concern for potential issues of accountability linked to public health decisions delegated to the private sector. Participants mostly supported tightly regulated medical exemptions granted by specialists, with little interest in religious or personal belief exemptions. CONCLUSION: Our participants are used to being governed by vaccine mandates, and now by rigorous lockdown and travel restrictions that have ensured limited local COVID-19 disease and transmission. These factors appear influential in their general openness to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, especially when linked explicitly to the prevention of disease in high-risk settings.

9.
Vaccine ; 2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433874

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In US states, childhood immunization mandates are enforced for school registration by front-line school staff, usually secretaries. Despite substantial changes to mandate policies in several states and many countries, little attention has been paid to the people who enforce them. This qualitative pilot study aimed to uncover beliefs, attitudes, and practices regarding immunization governance of Michigan school staff. METHOD: Front-line administrative workers from Michigan schools and district offices were solicited by email. Sixteen were interviewed remotely. RESULTS: Front-line school staff believed in vaccines, but did not advocate for vaccination while registering children. Instead, they sought low-friction bureaucratic transactions, privileging the collection of data over the promotion of public health goals. This revealed a mismatch between the goals of the front-line staff who enforce vaccine mandates in schools and the goals of the policymakers who created school vaccine mandates. CONCLUSIONS: This study found low mobilization of front-line enforcers of mandates in public-facing school administration roles, a problem likely to afflict the majority of American states with the 'mandates + exemptions' model of immunization governance. Schools would have stronger incentives to promote vaccination if state funding were better tied to immunization compliance. Front-line staff could better enforce vaccine mandates if they were provided with resources and training about vaccine promotion.

11.
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e049356, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289891

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Ahead of the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccination programme, the interdisciplinary Coronavax research team developed a multicomponent mixed methods project to support successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Western Australia. This project seeks to analyse community attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination, vaccine access and information needs. We also study how government incorporates research findings into the vaccination programme. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Coronavax protocol employs an analytical social media study, and a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with purposively selected community groups. Participant groups currently include healthcare workers, aged care workers, first responders, adults aged 65+ years, adults aged 30-64 years, young adults aged 18-29 years, education workers, parents/guardians of infants and young children (<5 years), parents/guardians of children aged 5-18 years with comorbidities and parents/guardians who are hesitant about routine childhood vaccines. The project also includes two studies that track how Australian state and Commonwealth (federal) governments use the study findings. These are functional dialogues (translation and discussion exercises that are recorded and analysed) and evidence mapping of networks within government (which track how study findings are used). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval has been granted by the Child and Adolescent Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and the University of Western Australia HREC. Study findings will be disseminated by a series of journal articles, reports to funders and stakeholders, and invited and peer-reviewed presentations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Australia , Child , Child, Preschool , Government , Humans , Infant , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Western Australia , Young Adult
13.
Policy Sci ; : 1-19, 2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269175

ABSTRACT

This article explores why governments do not respond to public compliance problems in a timely manner with appropriate instruments, and the consequences of their failure to do so. Utilising a case study of Italian vaccination policy, the article considers counterfactuals and the challenges of governing health policy in an age of disinformation. It counterposes two methods of governing vaccination compliance: discipline, which uses public institutions to inculcate the population with favourable attitudes and practices, and modulation, which uses access to public institutions as a form of control. The Italian government ineffectively employed discipline for a number of years. Epistemological and organisational constraints stymied its efforts to tackle a significant childhood vaccination compliance problem. With a loss of control over the information environment, vaccinations were not served well by exogenous crises, the sensationalism of the news cycle and online misinformation. Hampered by austerity, lack of capacity and epistemic shortcomings, the Italian government did not protect the public legitimacy of the vaccination programme. Instead of employing communications to reassure a hesitant population, they focused on systemic and delivery issues, until it was too late to do anything except make vaccinations mandatory (using modulation). The apparent short-term success of this measure in generating population compliance does not foreclose the need for ongoing governance of vaccine confidence through effective discipline. This is evident for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with many Italians still indicating that they would not accept a vaccine despite the devastation that the disease has wrought throughout their country.

14.
Politics ; : 1, 2021.
Article in English | Academic Search Complete | ID: covidwho-1221712

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccine development has been widely awaited, but concerns around acceptance and political polarisation prevail. We sought to determine the willingness of Australians to take a (then prospective) COVID-19 vaccine, compared with their previously recorded opinions about other vaccines. We also sought to determine reasons for hesitancy, levels of support for possible government mandates, and the political basis of support. We surveyed 1200 Australians, including 898 participants in a panel previously asked in 2017 about vaccines and mandates. In all, 66% of respondents indicated they would take a coronavirus vaccine, less than the 88% who in 2017 agreed that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary. Also, 70% of the respondents who indicated hesitancy were concerned about the safety of the vaccine if it was developed too quickly, and 73% of all respondents agreed that the government should require a coronavirus vaccine for work, travel, and study. This is lower than the 85% who agreed with the childhood vaccine mandate in 2017, but slightly higher than the number of respondents who indicated that they would definitely be willing to take the coronavirus vaccine themselves. Older respondents, higher income respondents, and respondents who vote for major parties were all significantly more likely to take a coronavirus vaccine and to support government requirements. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Politics is the property of Sage Publications Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

15.
Int J Infect Dis ; 105: 188-193, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1070523

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) flagged vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health. The drivers of and barriers to under-vaccination include logistics (access to and awareness of affordable vaccines), as well as a complex mix of psychological, social, political, and cultural factors. INCREASING VACCINE UPTAKE: There is a need for effective strategies to increase vaccine uptake in various settings, based on the best available evidence. Fortunately, the field of vaccine acceptance research is growing rapidly with the development, implementation, and evaluation of diverse measurement tools, as well as interventions to address the challenging range of drivers of and barriers to vaccine acceptance. ANNUAL VACCINE ACCEPTANCE MEETINGS: Since 2011, the Mérieux Foundation has hosted Annual Vaccine Acceptance Meetings in Annecy, France that have fostered an informal community of practice on vaccination confidence and vaccine uptake. Mutual learning and sharing of knowledge has resulted directly in multiple initiatives and research projects. This article reports the discussions from the 7th Annual Vaccine Acceptance Meeting held September 23-25, 2019. During this meeting, participants discussed emergent vaccine acceptance challenges and evidence-informed ways of addressing them in a programme that included sessions on vaccine mandates, vaccine acceptance and demand, training on vaccine acceptance, and frameworks for resilience of vaccination programmes.


Subject(s)
Health Behavior , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Social Determinants of Health/statistics & numerical data , Vaccination/psychology , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Policy , Treatment Refusal , World Health Organization
16.
PLoS One ; 16(1): e0245907, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067423

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Broad community acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccination will be critical for effectively halting the spread of the virus. In this study, we focus on factors that differentiate those who are undecided from those who are either willing or unwilling to accept a prospective COVID-19 vaccine. METHODS: An online survey in May 2020 assessed Australian adults' willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (yes, maybe, no). A multinomial logistical regression of responses (N = 1,313) was used to identify correlates of vaccine willingness between the three groups. RESULTS: 65% were willing to vaccinate, with 27% being in the 'maybe' category. Respondents were more likely to be in the 'maybe' than the 'yes' group when they perceived COVID-19 to be less severe, had less trust in science, were less willing to vaccinate for influenza, and were female. They were more likely to be in the 'maybe' than 'no' group when they perceived COVID-19 as severe, and less likely to be a hoax, had more trust in science, and greater willingness to vaccinate for influenza. A repeat of the survey in November 2020 with a subset of participants found fewer of them saying yes to the vaccine (56%) and more saying maybe (31%). CONCLUSIONS: The effectiveness of any COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be reliant on maximizing uptake. The significant number of people who remain undecided about whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, despite the ongoing devastating consequences of the virus for individuals, communities, and economies, is concerning. Our findings aid current research seeking to inform policy regarding how to convince the undecided to vaccinate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Australia , COVID-19/psychology , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Influenza Vaccines , Logistic Models , Male , Prospective Studies
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