Background: Maintenance of high immunization rates is challenged by frequent changes to the recommended immunization schedule. This study assessed parent-reported knowledge of, attitudes about, and demand for a new vaccine against varicella.
Methods: Six months following licensure of the varicella vaccine, a cross-sectional study was conducted by mailed survey among a sample of parents of 23- to 35-month-old children. Effective response rate was 65%.
Results: Three quarters of parents had heard about the vaccine to prevent varicella. The lay media was the most frequently mentioned source of information. Thirteen percent of parents had already obtained the vaccine for their child, another quarter planned to get it, and one half were undecided. The most frequently cited factor influencing parents who had obtained or intended to obtain the vaccine was their doctor's recommendation. For those undecided or not inclined to get the vaccine, insufficient information about the vaccine was the most frequently listed factor.
Conclusion: Publicizing a new vaccine through the media may be effective in raising public awareness, but detailed information about the vaccine and the recommendation of providers is still important in a parent's decision about the vaccine for their child.