In June 2009, the World Health Organization declared an influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. In October 2009, the largest vaccination campaign in Canadian history began. Eve Dube, of the Institut National de Santé publique du Québec in Québec, Canada, and colleagues sought to document pediatricians' knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding pandemic influenza A (H1N1) and its prevention by vaccination just after the beginning of the A(H1N1) vaccination campaign and to compare the results with those obtained before campaign initiation.
The researchers sent a self-administered mail-based questionnaire was to all Canadian pediatricians. Questionnaires were analyzed in two subsets: those received before and after the beginning of the vaccination campaign. Overall, the response rate was 50 percent. Respondents' characteristics were comparable between the two subsets. Before the beginning of the campaign, 63 percent of pediatricians perceived A(H1N1) pandemic infection as a serious disease, that would occur frequently without vaccination compared to more than 75 percent after. Before the vaccination campaign, half of respondents or less thought that the A(H1N1) vaccine was safe (50 percent) and effective (35 percent) compared to 77 percent and 72 percent after.
The proportion of pediatricians who reported they had received sufficient information on A(H1N1) vaccine increased from 31 percent before to 73 percent after the beginning of the vaccination campaign. The majority of respondents intended to get vaccinated against A(H1N1) influenza themselves (84 percent before and 92 percent after). Respondents' intention to recommend the A(H1N1) vaccine to their patients increased from 80 percent before the beginning of the campaign to 92 percent after. In multivariate analysis, the main determinants of pediatricians' intention to recommend the A(H1N1) vaccine were their intention to get vaccinated against A(H1N1) influenza themselves and a belief that A(H1N1) vaccine would be well accepted by health professionals who administer vaccines to the public.
The researchers say they found important increases in physicians level of confidence about A(H1N1) vaccine's safety and immunogenicity and their willingness to recommend this vaccine to their patients. These changes could be explained, at least partially, by the important effort done by public health authorities to disseminate information regarding A(H1N1) vaccination. Their research was published in BMC Public Health.
Reference: Dube E, Defay F, Gilca V, Bettinger JA, Sauvageau C, Lavoie F, Boucher FD, McNeil S, Gemmill I and Boulianne N. A(H1N1) pandemic influenza and its prevention by vaccination: Paediatricians opinions before and after the beginning of the vaccination campaign. BMC Public Health 2011, 11:128doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-128