A Mobile Phone Application for Recording Vaccine Refusals
Background: Although vaccines are a safe and effective approach for preventing morbidity and mortality, many people in developed countries are refusing vaccination for themselves and their children. Low vaccination rates are contributing to the re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases around the world. More information is needed regarding when, where, and why vaccines are refused.
Methods: A vaccine-refusal app (Vaccine Refused) for iOS was created using Objective-C and Apple’s Cocoa Touch framework. The server component uses an app written in Python, using the open-source Django-Tastypie API framework to communicate app data via JSON feeds. Health professionals submit anonymized refusal reports by inputting patient sex and age range, hospital location, the vaccines refused, and reason for refusal. The app also offers a map of all reported refusals, filterable by date and vaccine, built using Apple’s MapKit framework and open source pin visualization libraries.
Results: Vaccine Refused was first deployed to U.S. medical professionals in September 2012. Testing feedback was then collected and refinements were made; this iterative process was repeated until testers were satisfied with the design and ease of use.
Conclusion: Vaccine Refused will facilitate simple and straightforward data collection for future research studies (local, national, and international). Collected data is accessible online using the same JSON feeds the app uses, providing unlimited usage in third-party tools. We believe the app will be most useful as a tool for conducting future studies with well defined patient populations.