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Open Access Research article

Knowledge and attitudes of parents and professionals to neonatal BCG vaccination in light of recent UK policy changes: A questionnaire study

Morris Gordon, Hannah Roberts and Egware Odeka*

Author Affiliations

Department of Paediatrics, Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham, UK

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2007, 7:82  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-82

Published: 24 July 2007

Abstract

Background

Universal BCG vaccination in the UK ended in 2005. The new vaccination policy instead offers a number of different forms of selective vaccination to newborns based on risk of acquiring TB. We set out to assess the attitudes and knowledge of both parents and professionals to the new policy for neonatal BCG vaccination.

Methods

A short questionnaire was designed, made up of demographic and attitude questions, as well as very basic knowledge questions. The researchers handed out the questionnaire to all parents and professionals in the antenatal and postnatal areas, as well as the paediatric and neonatal units during a 6-week period. The site was the Royal Oldham hospital, a district general hospital with 3250 deliveries per year and multi-ethnic in its population mix.

Results

A total of 253 completed questionnaires were collected. The ethnic origin of responders was 50.6% White British, 18.2% Bangladeshi, 8.7% Indian, 4% White/Asian, the remaining 18.5% of other origins. 71.5% of responders said they had heard of BCG vaccine. When asked if they knew the new policy for its use, 33.2% answered yes. 24.5% gave the most accurate response when asked who now receives BCG.

Conclusion

We have found that amongst parents and professionals alike there is a lack of knowledge of the new policy. This has lead to confusion and as knowledge amongst the professionals who identify neonates for vaccination is low, uptake may be sub-optimal. We suggest that units investigate the issue and ensure that the new policy is understood and implemented correctly.