Background Vaccines are universally recognised as fundamental tools for guaranteeing public health. However, such programmes have come under scrutiny due to misinformation and anti-vaccine campaigns. Low rates of coverage were shown in Italy, therefore, in 2017 the government enforced 10 compulsory vaccines for children with the 2017–2019 National Vaccine Prevention Plan (PNPV). Even if mandatory vaccination is effective, such practice can create suspicion in the population, making communication in healthcare settings crucial to build back this trust.
Purpose The objective was to determine public knowledge and perception towards vaccinations.
Material and methods A semi-structured questionnaire (12 closed questions, one open-ended question) was distributed to a sample of Italian adult citizens (September 2017–May 2018).
Results One-hundred and fifteen citizens were included (68% females, mean age 40.7±13.2, 54% had at least one child, 53% had a degree). Ninety-one per cent were in favour of vaccinations, associating them with a sense of protection from diseases (84%), 9% expressed doubt while no one was against vaccines. Seventy per cent reported to know how vaccinations work by information that has been obtained through healthcare workers (61%) and the internet (27%). Fifty per cent reported direct or indirect experience with adverse reactions (ADRs) even if only one case was serious; 80% reported that they agreed with the PNPV; 87% stated they knew why vaccinations became compulsory; and 65% thought vaccinations which were included in the PNPV also protect against diseases that can be brought by immigrants. Ninety-one per cent knew the reason why they received vaccination and 72% had been informed by the clinician about the PNPV. Five per cent reported that all vaccinations were the same, while only 33% knew that anti-HPV vaccination was mandatory also for teenage boys (recent introduction). Thirty-three per cent were concerned about serious ADRs and allergic reactions, while 34% reported no fears concerning vaccination.
Conclusion The analysis has shown that people are in favour of vaccination, however there are strong concerns about side effects and limited knowledge about the diseases that are prevented through vaccination. Therefore, the results highlight the need for information campaigns about vaccinations by healthcare workers where hospital pharmacists are in a pivotal position to increase awareness about the importance of vaccinations.
References and/or acknowledgements None.
No conflict of interest.
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