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Exp Ther Med. 2019 Dec;18(6):5088-5094. doi: 10.3892/etm.2019.8124. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Knowledge influences attitudes toward vaccination in Romania.

Author information

1
Allergy Department, 'Professor Doctor Octavian Fodor' Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 400162 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
2
Internal Medicine Department, 'Professor Doctor Octavian Fodor' Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 400162 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
3
Allergy and Immunology Discipline, 'Iuliu Hatieganu' University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 400012 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, Colentina University Hospital, 020125 Bucharest, Romania.
5
Department of Mathematics, 'Babes Bolyai' University, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
6
Anatomy Discipline, 'Iuliu Hatieganu' University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 400012 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Abstract

Despite proven effectiveness and safety of vaccinations, immunization rates are decreasing across Europe, most countries having suboptimal vaccination coverage, leading to an increase in the number of cases of preventable contagious diseases. In recent years, the number of parents who have refused to vaccinate their children in Romania has decreased substantially, while the number of fatal complications due to measles outbreak is one of the highest in Europe. Since healthcare professionals have been identified as the main advocates for immunization, knowledge and attitudes of medical students and nurses is of particular interest. A cross-sectional survey was carried out on 278 participants, divided into three groups: 183 medical students, 54 nurses and 41 non-medical professionals. The questionnaire included questions on demographics of participants, personal experience with vaccines, knowledge and attitude toward vaccination. The data was collected, centralized and analyzed using statistical methods. The survey was given to the medical students at the beginning of the Immunology course and again at the end, to test whether information received influenced their responses. The study revealed that a great majority of participants were themselves vaccinated [N=262 (94%)] and had/or would vaccinate their children [N=247 (95%)]. Satisfactory overall knowledge about effectiveness and safety concerns was observed, with 98% (N=270) considering vaccines as useful and over 96% (N=276) correctly identified their usefulness. When asked about adverse effects, concerning numbers [N=32, (19%)] of medical students answered incorrectly. After the Immunology course, however, there was significant improvement in knowledge on this topic (P<0.001), correlating with a positive shift in attitude towards current and future vaccines. We predict that better knowledge about vaccines, their efficacy and safety would help build the health provider's confidence in recommending vaccination and thus increased coverage rates.

KEYWORDS:

immunization attitudes; vaccination; vaccine coverage; vaccine hesitancy; vaccine knowledge

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