Australia’s trusted independent immunisation experts

Decision aid (5–15 years): Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine for my child?

This decision aid is designed to help you decide whether COVID-19 vaccination is right for your child. It will give you the information you need about the virus and the vaccine, and help you think about what the risks and benefits of vaccination mean for your family.


What are my options?

 

Tick My child gets the COVID-19 vaccine now

Clock My child waits to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Cross My child doesn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine








We have also produced a decision aid for adults. Switch to the Decision aid (16+ years): Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? if you’re interested in thinking about whether COVID-19 vaccination is right for you.



Who developed this decision aid?



Dr Jane Frawley

PhD, M Clin Science, Grad Cert App Sc, BHSc.

Jane is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She has an interest in health and wellbeing across the life stages, especially during pregnancy and childhood. Jane's current work looks at decision making, communication, vaccination and outcomes from infectious disease. She believes in sharing research to help parents make the best decision they can for their family. Jane is a member of the steering committee for the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) group and the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA).

Dr Kerrie Wiley

PhD, M Sc Med (Clinical Epidemiology), BSc (Biomedical)

Kerrie is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leadership Fellow, and Senior Research Fellow with the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health.  Kerrie’s research focuses on the social and behavioural aspects of immunisation and other preventive health behaviours, and their implications for policy and practice. Kerrie is a member of the World Health Organization ‘Measuring Behavioural and Social Drivers of Vaccination’ (BeSD) Working Group, and a founding member of the Collaboration of Social Science in Immunisation. 

Professor Julie Leask

PhD, MPH, Dip Health Sci (Nursing), Midwifery Cert

Julie is a social scientist specialising in vaccination. Her research focuses on how people make decisions about vaccination and how risk is communicated. She currently chairs the World Health Organization’s Measuring Behavioural and Social Drivers of Vaccination working group. In 2019, Julie was named overall winner of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence. 

Professor Kirsten McCaffery

PhD, BSc Hons Psych, FAHMS

Kirsten is a Principal Research Fellow at the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney. Her research focuses on health communication and behaviour change. Since April 2020, Kirsten has expanded her work to include infectious disease and COVID-19 health communication. 

Associate Professor Holly Seale

PhD, MPH, BSc (Biomedical)

Holly is a social scientist whose work focuses on supporting vaccine uptake and other infection control strategies. She is the Deputy Chair of the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI). Holly is a member of the World Health Organization’s expert working group on the Social and Behavioural Determinants of Vaccination.

Associate Professor Margie Danchin

PhD, MBBS, FRACP

Margie is a paediatrician who works to improve vaccine uptake. She is the Chair of the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) group. Margie is part of the COVID-19 vaccine safety, confidence and evaluation working group of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the steering committee of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA).

Dr Abela Mahimbo

PhD, MD, MPH, MHM

Abela is an early career health services researcher at University of Technology Sydney. She has an interest in refugee and multicultural health, immunisation and infectious disease. Abela also works to turn research findings into real-life outcomes for the community.

Professor Lyndal Trevena

PhD, MBBS(Hons), MPhilPH

Lyndal is a General Practitioner with a passion for helping people to make decisions about their health. She is a member of the International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) group. Lyndal works with several national and state agencies to support the rights of patients in Australian healthcare. She currently provides pro bono healthcare and advocacy to asylum seekers and refugees in Sydney. Lyndal recently retired from the University of Sydney.

Dr Jessica Kaufman

PhD

Jess is a public health research fellow. Her work focuses on vaccine communication and strategies to increase vaccine acceptance. She is a member of the steering committee for the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) and the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA).



  • What is a decision aid?

    Decision aids can help you make decisions about your health.1 They do three things to prepare you to make a decision:

    1. They give you information about a medicine or health problem and outline the available options. 
    2. They help you work out what matters most (your ‘values’). 
    3. They help you share your thoughts and values with your healthcare provider and others. This means that you can plan a course of action that matches your values. 

     

    Decision aids do not direct you to choose one option over another.2  

     

    We developed this patient decision aid using the decision support format of the Ottawa Health Decision Centre at the University of Ottawa and Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ontario, Canada.1 

  • Is this decision aid right for me?

    This decision aid contains information relating specifically to children (aged 5-15). If you are making a decision about vaccination for yourself, we recommend that you use the Decision aid (16+ years): Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Where did our research come from?

    We used the best available research about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines to develop this decision aid. First, we looked closely at the research studies from around the world to find out what happens when a child gets COVID-19 or has the COVID-19 vaccine. Then we summarised this research  for this decision aid. 

    Other countries approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children earlier than Australia, giving us good data to consult. For example, over 8 million US children have received a COVID-19 vaccine and we looked at all side-effects reported by parents, doctors and hospitals. 

    We will update this decision aid as important new research becomes available. 

  • Who reviewed this decision aid?

    Dr Frank Beard
    MBChB, BA, MPH, MHA, Grad Dip App Epi, FAFPHM
    Frank is a public health physician who is Associate Director, Surveillance, Coverage, Evaluation and Social Science at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCRIS), and has a conjoint academic appointment as Associate Professor in The University of Sydney School of Public Health. He worked as a GP in Sydney for 15 years before undertaking his specialty training. His main interests are in the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable disease, vaccine coverage analysis and immunisation program evaluation.

    Dr Ketaki Sharma
    MBBS, MPH, FRACP
    Ketaki is a paediatrician and staff specialist at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and a Clinical Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney. Ketaki provides scientific technical support to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and is also part of the New South Wales Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS).

  • Do the authors have any conflicts of interest to declare?

    The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. The authors do not stand to gain or lose by choices made by any person who uses this decision aid. 

  • Who funded this decision aid?

    The Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, and the National Centre of Immunisation Research and Surveillance funded this research. 

  • When was this decision aid last updated?

    April 2022. We will update this decision aid regularly. 

+ References

  1. International Patient Decision Aid Standards (IPDAS) Collaboration. Criteria for Judging the Quality of Patient Decision Aids. 2005. http://www.ipdas.ohri.ca/IPDAS_checklist.pdf (Accessed January 2022). 
  2. O'Connor AM, Légaré F, Stacey D. Risk communication in practice: the contribution of decision aids. BMJ (Clinical Research ed.). 2003;327(7417):736–740. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7417.736
  3. Kates J, Tolbert J, Rouw A. 2022. Update on COVID-19 Vaccination of 5-11 Year Olds in the U.S. Available from: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/update-on-covid-19-vaccination-of-5-11-year-olds-in-the-u-s/ accessed January 2022.