Addressing vaccine hesitancy and refusal can be difficult. Online environments produce adversarial discussions about vaccination, intensifying polarisation and marginalising the hesitant. Parents often bring questions or concerns about vaccination to the clinical encounter. How health professionals invite and address these concerns can move parents towards, or further away from, vaccination. Many health professionals find resolute vaccine refusal very challenging.

This seminar focused on work to support conversations between parents and health professionals called SKAI (Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation). Developed by a multidisciplinary team, SKAI offers communication strategies and resources for three possible pathways aligned to whether parents are (1) ready to vaccinate, (2) hesitant or (3) declining vaccination. The presentation by Julie Leask will focus on findings from early testing in parent focus groups; in-depth interviews with GPs and nurses; and conversations between clinicians and vaccine-hesitant or declining parents. Professor Leask will also present on the broader evidence base of how to improve vaccination coverage, concluding that there is no single formula but that a range of strategies are needed.

A link to the video resources from this seminar can be requested by emailing

Julie Leask is a social scientist and associate professor in the Sydney Nursing School at the University of Sydney. She is also a visiting senior research fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.  Julie has academic qualifications in nursing and midwifery, a Master of Public Health (USYD, 1998) and PhD on vaccine risk communication (USYD, 2002). She currently leads a program of research on vaccination acceptance with a focus on primary care and community settings. She has had advisory roles with the WHO Europe Regional Office, the US President’s Cancer Panel, the US Institute of Medicine, the US National Vaccine Program Office, the Australian Academy of Science and the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council. In 2015 she won the PHAA NSW branch Public Health Impact Award and the Sax Institute Research Action Award.

Last updated December 2018