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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A(H1N1) pandemic influenza and its prevention by vaccination: Paediatricians' opinions before and after the beginning of the vaccination campaign

Eve Dubé12*, Fannie Defay2, Vladimir Gilca12, Julie A Bettinger3, Chantal Sauvageau12, France Lavoie2, François D Boucher2, Shelly McNeil4, Ian Gemmill5 and Nicole Boulianne12

Author Affiliations

1 Institut National de Santé publique du Québec, 2400 d'Estimauville, Québec, Canada

2 Centre de recherche du CHUL-CHUQ, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval, 2705 Blv Laurier, Québec, Canada

3 University of British Columbia, 229 West mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

4 Canadian Center for Vaccinology, Health Centre, Clinical Trials Research Center, 5850/5980 University avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

5 Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public health Unit, 221 Portsmouth avenue, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:128  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-128

Published: 22 February 2011

Abstract

Background

In June 2009, the World Health Organization declared an A(H1N1) influenza pandemic. In October 2009, the largest vaccination campaign in Canadian history began. The aim of this study was to document paediatricians' knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) regarding A(H1N1) pandemic influenza 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.

Methods

A self-administered mail-based questionnaire was sent to all Canadian paediatricians. Questionnaires were analyzed in two subsets: those received before and after the beginning of the vaccination campaign.

Results

Overall the response rate was 50%. Respondents' characteristics were comparable between the two subsets. Before the beginning of the campaign, 63% of paediatricians perceived A(H1N1) pandemic infection as a serious disease, that would occur frequently without vaccination compared to more than 75% after. Before the vaccination campaign, half of respondents or less thought that the A(H1N1) vaccine was safe (50%) and effective (35%) compared to 77% and 72% after. The proportion of paediatricians who reported they had received sufficient information on A(H1N1) vaccine increased from 31% before to 73% after the beginning of the vaccination campaign. The majority of respondents intended to get vaccinated against A(H1N1) influenza themselves (84% before and 92% after). Respondents' intention to recommend the A(H1N1) vaccine to their patients increased from 80% before the beginning of the campaign to 92% after. In multivariate analysis, the main determinants of paediatricians' 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.

Conclusion

Results of this study show 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.