Impact of physicians’ attitude to vaccination on local vaccination coverage for pertussis and measles in Germany

Vaccination rates of children in Germany are unsatisfying and regional endemic outbreaks have been reported. Few studies have analysed physicians’ attitude towards vaccination. We investigated whether there is an association between physicians’ attitude and vaccination coverage on the regional level for Germany.

METHODS:

In a representative cross-sectional survey, anonymized questionnaires were sent to random samples of all paediatricians (50%) and general practitioners (10%) in private practice in Germany. Attitude towards vaccination was operationalized in three scores. Measles and pertussisvaccination coverage rates were obtained from the 16 Federal States’ Health Departments. Geographic methods and linear regression models were used for analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 2010 paediatricians (response proportion: 64.1%) and 1712 general practitioners (response proportion 39.1%) were included in the analysis. We found an association of physicians’ attitude towards vaccination and vaccination coverage rate (P < 0.0001). There is also an important association between vaccination coverage and the geographic location, with lower coverage rates especially in the States of former Western Germany (compared with our reference State Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania; pertussis: maximum -5.86% in Bavaria, P < 0.0001; measles: maximum -20.20% in Berlin, P = 0.0002).

CONCLUSIONS:

The regional association between vaccination coverage rates and physicians’ attitude towards vaccination seems to be superposed by population-related variables. An increase of vaccination coverage requires better information and training of both, physicians and the general population

Authors:Weigel M1, Weitmann KRautmann CSchmidt JBruns RHoffmann W.

Journal:Eur J Public Health. 2014

Link:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24599940