Arch Hellen Med, 29(4), July-August 2012, 461-467
The attitudes of parents to the vaccination of children. A study in kindergartens in Athens
Α. Papazoglou, F. Papadellis, G. Tsiftis, I. Pavlopoulou, K. Kritikos, K. Tsoumakas
OBJECTIVE The Greek National Immunization Program (NIP) is the most effective public health intervention and its purpose is to eliminate mortality from the diseases for which vaccines are available. The success of the program depends on the rate of vaccination coverage of the population. The achievement of this goal requires the cooperation of the National Health System, the medical community and the parents of the children who need to be immunized. The purpose of this study was to record the opinions, perceptions and general attitudes of parents about vaccines and the NIP, and their level of information and its source and reliability.
METHOD The study population was recruited from kindergartens in various parts of Athens. A total of 2,995 questionnaires were distributed to the parents (one for each child), of which 1,044 were completed.
RESULTS The vaccination coverage of the children in the study was 99.2%. Of the parents responding to the questionnaire, 94.3% agreed with the administration of vaccines. The main reason given for disagreement was fear of side effects from vaccination (81%). The majority of parents (81.7%) were concerned about the safety and effectiveness of the new vaccines. The parents with satisfactory levels of knowledge were older than those with less knowledge and parents with higher education had a higher level of knowledge about the NIP (p<0.0001). The parents who had been informed about immunization by their child's pediatrician had a good level of knowledge (97.6%). Parents who disagreed with the NIP were more likely to have been informed from the internet and the media (p=0.022). The children of parents with an adequate level of knowledge had completed the NIP (p=0.004).
CONCLUSIONS The vast majority of parents follow the recommendations of the NIP for their children, despite their possible objections. Parental knowledge and valid information are the key factors determining positive perceptions about their children's vaccination.
Key words: National immunization program, Parents, Vaccines.