I’ve got a fair amount of faith in my doctor and I tend to trust what she says and trust her opinion, so I think that I would believe what she would say before I’d believe anything I saw on TV.
‘Emily’, Sydney, 1999
In 1999, I first began studying the impact of vaccination debates on parents. Mums like Emily would talk about how they relied on their GPs or other health professionals when negotiating worrying information about vaccination they had heard elsewhere.
Later, we interviewed GPs and immunisation nurses. How did they address concerns about vaccination when talking with parents in everyday clinical encounters? What were the ideas behind their approaches? The professionals we spoke to shared stories about the challenges they had faced, and of strengths and insights wrought through experience.
Those conversations with parents and professionals inspired the beginnings of SKAI. We set out to develop a package of communication strategies and information resources to support parents and health professionals to have better conversations about immunisation. Along the way, we worked with parents, communicators, nurses, doctors, an engineer, website designers, educators, and other researchers. It has been a privilege to work with such a diverse team each contributing unique knowledge and perspective. We are also grateful to the Friday Collective for taking our concepts and turning them into the website you see today.
During the development of the SKAI package, two core values always underpinned our work: recognition of the benefits of vaccination for children, and the importance of respect for parents.
We are supporters of vaccination. We also want to see parents and professionals have more satisfying conversations.
We acknowledge that parents with questions about vaccination can feel uncomfortable voicing their concerns. We recognise that most parents are just trying to do their best. And we don’t want non-vaccinating parents to feel alienated from their healthcare providers.
Whether you are a parent or a healthcare professional, we hope the SKAI website provides you with the tools and resources you need to have great conversations about immunisation.
Julie Leask, SKAI