Background: Immunisation programs available in low and middle-income countries include fewer vaccines in comparison to Australia’s National Immunisation Program. As a result, refugees and migrants may have a heightened risk of being inadequately immunised upon arrival to Australia. Several studies have suggested that East African immigrants have low vaccination coverage. As such, the aim of this study was to explore the underlying attitudes, barriers and facilitators to immunisation in east African communities in two states of Australia: New South Wales and Victoria.
Methods: A qualitative study involving 17 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were undertaken with East African refugees and migrants living in two states of Australia: New South Wales and Victoria. These refugees and migrants were from four key East African countries: Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Thematic analysis was undertaken to analyse and interpret the results.
Results: Language barriers, low risk perception and a lack of education were the key barriers identified by participants. Facilitators mentioned included the development of resources in participants’ languages and the implementation of reminder systems consistently across all GP practices. There was also a unanimous agreement amongst participants that community organisations need to play a greater role in the dissemination of information about immunisation.
Conclusions: Further research needs to be undertaken with regards to how education about immunisation is delivered and disseminated to refugee and migrant communities. Current findings also support the need to improve the health literacy of refugees and migrants by providing culturally and linguistically appropriate resources in participants’ respective languages.
SOURCE: Abdi, I. Menzies, R. Seale, H. “Barriers and facilitators of immunisation in refugees and migrants in Australia: an east-African case study.” Vaccine, 16 September 2019.
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