Almost half of people do not know what vaccines they should get as adults to prevent certain diseases, according to a survey carried out by Ipsos for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA).
The research, measuring public attitudes to vaccination in general and to Covid-19 vaccination, shows that 46% of people are not aware of the vaccines they should get as adults unless a healthcare professional tells them.
But 61% of people would get vaccinated for certain diseases if their doctor recommended the move.
Vaccines on the Health Service Executive’s adult vaccination schedule include flu, pneumococcal disease, whooping cough and travel vaccines, with Hepatitis B, HPV, mumps and rubella available for some people.
While 96% of people know that vaccines are available for flu, vaccines awareness varies for some other diseases, including tuberculosis (71%), HPV (70%) and meningitis (65%).
Over three in five people, or 61%, believe that it is not necessary to get vaccinated for certain diseases because they have already been eradicated.
Half of people said lack of information about vaccines was the biggest barrier to vaccine uptake. Almost two in five people, or 39%, said a lack of knowledge about the risks of remaining unvaccinated could stop them getting protected. Smaller proportions of people cited inconvenience, distance and lack of time as barriers, at 20%, 18% and 17%, respectively.
Over half of people, or 51%, have received two or more booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine while, overall, 93% of people aged 18 or over have been vaccinated for the disease at least once.
Over three in four people, or 77%, believe that children should study science at school, in part to learn more about vaccines.
The history of vaccination in Ireland spans almost two centuries, starting with smallpox in 1863. Now, smallpox is eradicated. Vaccines have eradicated diphtheria, a disease that suffocated children until the 1960s. Vaccines have eradicated or managed whopping cough, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, and meningitis. More recently, vaccines have been vital in tackling the HPV virus and Covid-19.
Bernard Mallee, Director of Communications and Advocacy at IPHA, said: “The impact of vaccines on human health has been transformative. Over 30 infectious diseases are vaccine-preventable. It is concerning, though, that there are wide knowledge gaps about some of the diseases vaccines can prevent. Encouragingly, many people heed doctors’ guidance about getting vaccinated. There is strong public support for teaching science in schools, indicating that, as a society, we value facts. Communities benefit from innovation, socially and economically, provided we make it part of our everyday lives.”
See more on ipha.ie.
About The Survey
Ipsos conducted 1,003 telephone interviews with adults aged 18 and over between November 1st and November 14th, 2022. The sample was nationally representative for age, gender, geography and social class.