Awareness of future parents about vaccination
Keywords:vaccine, immunization, post-vaccination reactions, adherence, contraindications to vaccination, pre-vaccination examination, expectant parents, vaccination, young people
Purpose - to assess the intentions of students of different universities to vaccinate their future children and the factors that influence their decision.
Materials and methods. A Google form with 20 questions was developed. The data were obtained from an online survey conducted among students who have not yet had children. The questions concerned the attitude to immunoprophylaxis, as well as information about the age, gender and occupation of the respondents (of particular interest are those who have or are obtaining a medical education).
Results. A total of 145 students took part in the survey, including 79.5% from healthcare and 20.5% from non-healthcare sectors. The majority of those who took part in the survey were female, aged 18 to 30. According to the data, after giving birth to children, 77.2% of respondents expressed a desire to invest in disease prevention and enjoy a full life, while almost 8% consider it appropriate to treat diseases that have already occurred, and more than 14% are undecided about medical tactics. In general, 81% have a positive attitude towards vaccination; 16% have a reservation, more than 2% are undecided, and almost 1% have a negative attitude. According to the attitude towards vaccination of their future children, five distinct parental groups were identified among the respondents: “unquestioning acceptors” - 57% of respondents indicated that they intend to vaccinate their future children with all vaccines available in Ukraine, 43.9% - “cautious acceptors” - will choose only mandatory vaccinations; 8.8% are undecided and slightly less than 2% are “refusers” from all vaccines. The first place among the main reasons for refusing to vaccinate children is the fear of adverse reactions and post-vaccination complications; the second place is distrust of the manufacturer and the third is caution because of so-called contraindications. The survey also found that when determining contraindications to vaccinating an unborn child, respondents would most likely listen to the opinion of the following specialists: pediatrician - 87.7%; immunologist - 56.1%; family doctor - 46.5%.
Conclusions. The level of awareness of vaccination among young people is generally satisfactory. There is no difference between doctors and non-physicians. To maximize protection of children from vaccine-preventable infections, pediatricians should effectively counsel parents on the benefits of vaccines and the risks of delaying or refusing vaccination. To increase understanding and benefit of vaccines among the general population and reduce vaccine hesitation/refusal, vaccine education should begin as part of a healthy lifestyle and disease prevention program long before university and continue after medical and non-medical training. Basic knowledge about vaccines should be included in the curriculum of not only medical but also non-medical universities.
The research was carried out in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Declaration. The study protocol was approved by the Local Ethics Committee of the participating institution.
No conflict of interests was declared by the authors.
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