Few parents can recall the full vaccination status of their children, according to a new study by researchers in Germany and the UK.
Parents usually say their child has had ‘the usual vaccines’ but are often unaware which diseases are covered by the immunisation schedule.
But fear not – a new smartphone app has been designed to help parents keep track of vaccinations. Tested with parents in Germany, VAccApp has been shown to significantly improve parents’ recall.
Asked whether their child had ever been vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae b (a bacterium that can cause meningitis and pneumonia), only one third of parents surveyed could remember. After using the app, this increased to 85%.
For tetanus, an impressive 74% knew whether their child was vaccinated before using the app. Afterwards, this increased to 92%. (Read the full study)
The VAccApp was devised by the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative (a Vaccines Today supporter organisation) and covers 25 vaccines including those on the routine immunisation schedule, vaccines recommended for particular population sub-groups, and travel vaccines.
It was validated in a hospital-based programme in Berlin between 2012 and 2014 in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute.
“Informed parents are more likely to appreciate the benefits of the vaccines,” say the authors. “User-friendly mobile applications empower parents to take a closer look at the vaccination record, thereby taking an active role in providing accurate vaccination histories. Parents may become motivated to ask informed questions and to keep vaccinations up-to-date.”