PhD Scientific Days 2022

Budapest, 6-7 July 2022

Health Sciences (Poster discussion will take place in the Aula during the Coffee Break)

Attitudes Towards Varicella Vaccination in Parents and Paediatric Healthcare Providers in Hungary

Annamária Huber1, Judit Gazder2, Orsolya Dobay1, Zsófia Mészner3, Andrea Horváth1
1 Semmelweis University, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Budapest
2 Health Visitor Service, Municipality of Tatabánya City, Tatabánya
3 Heim Pál National Paediatric Institute, Budapest

Text of the abstract

Varicella is a common childhood disease, which can have serious complications. Before VZV vaccine was made mandatory in 2019, vaccine coverage was around 20% in Hungary. Vaccination with non-compulsory vaccines is influenced by several factors. It is important to know the attitudes towards vaccinations and the reasons for rejecting them.

Aim of this cross-sectional study was to survey attitudes and determinants of support or refusal of varicella vaccination in parents and in paediatric healthcare professionals, mainly health visitors in Hungary prior to the introduction of this vaccine in National Immunization Program in 2019.

Between October 2018 and February 2019, 1042 parents and 198 healthcare professionals completed a self-administered anonymous questionnaire regarding sociodemographic background, knowledge and attitudes towards varicella vaccination, and reasons for non-vaccination.

From the participating parents 53.3% have vaccinated at least one of their children. Vaccination rate was significantly higher in families with <3 children, living in the capital, among those who have seen complications of varicella and among parents with university degree. Most important positive determinant was recommendation by healthcare professionals: 77.8% of parents accepted vaccination when recommended by a paediatrician, whereas only 17.3% of parents vaccinated their children when the vaccine was not recommended. Most important reasons for non-vaccination were finding it unnecessary, concerns regarding side effects, and not believing in effectiveness. Among paediatric healthcare professionals, support rate of universal VZV vaccination was 76.3%. It was higher among those who have seen complications of varicella more often and those who consider varicella severe. Reasons of professionals who do not support universal varicella vaccination were similar to vaccine hesitant parents. Practice of intentional exposure of non-immune child to infected ones still exist.

Educational programs are needed for parents and health visitors to address concerns regarding vaccination. Paediatricians are the most trusted source of information for parents hence they have a significant responsibility and parents likely follow their recommendations.

Our study did not have any funding.