Background: General practitioners (GPs) are well placed to address parents questions and concerns about childhood vaccination. However, some GPs find these conversations unsatisfying and difficult. Supporting GPs to communicate with confidence is key to addressing vaccine hesitancy.
Methods: Drawing on communication science, the Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI) package was developed to support GPs and other immunisation providers in vaccination conversations with parents. Qualitative research with parents and healthcare workers, stakeholder consultations, and testing via simulated consultations informed and refined the package.
Results: Findings indicated that strategies should be tailored to parents who are ready, questioning, and declining. The resulting SKAI package comprises an eLearning module and two websites. The eLearning module provides scenarios and activities that enable GPs to structure vaccination consultations with clear goals, and practice eliciting, recognising and responding to parents concerns. The SKAI website for providers offers further resources such as discussion guides. The SKAI website for parents offers information about NIP vaccines, videos, and Q&A sheets for common questions.
Discussion: The SKAI package was launched and disseminated progressively throughout 2019. Several thousand immunisation providers have engaged with the eLearning module, while the websites have collectively received over 50,000 visitors. Preliminary survey findings indicate that parents and providers find the websites visually appealing and useful, and that parents trust the information provided. Future plans include integrating SKAI into primary care pathways and practice management platforms to enable GPs to more easily access the training and resources, and adapting the SKAI concept to other target groups.
Implications for practice: The SKAI package of resources provides a comprehensive integrated approach to any discussion about vaccination in primary care and aims to prevent or manage vaccine hesitancy and refusal.