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Can Fam Physician. 2002 Feb;48:316-23.

Peril of the pox. Are primary care providers aware of varicella vaccination guidelines?

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto.



To determine whether physicians providing primary care in Ontario were aware of guidelines published by Health Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), their opinions about the varicella vaccine, and factors that influence use of the vaccine.


A questionnaire examining awareness, knowledge, and perceived barriers to using varicella vaccine was developed and mailed to a random sample of 500 family physicians and 400 pediatricians practising in Ontario.


To the 900 questionnaires mailed, 284 family physicians (56.9%) and 232 pediatricians (59.2%) responded. Fifty-six percent of family physicians and 95.4% of pediatricians providing primary care were aware of the Health Canada guidelines. Physicians who were aware of the Health Canada guidelines were more knowledgeable about the vaccine and were more likely to recommend it. Both groups of physicians identified cost (not covered by the government), problems with storage and handling, and concerns about long-term immunity as barriers to use of the vaccine.


While awareness of the guidelines was associated with better knowledge of and following recommendations for the vaccine, Health Canada guidelines were not widely distributed to all primary care providers. One way to encourage incorporation of varicella vaccine guidelines into practice would be to improve dissemination of the guidelines to all primary care providers.

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