Objectives: To examine parents' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding acute otitis media (AOM) and parents' willingness to vaccinate their children with new vaccine offering larger spectrum of protection against AOM.
Methods: Telephone survey conducted in a stratified sample of household in 10 Canadian provinces using random-digit dialling methodology. Parents of children aged 6 months to 5 years were reached.
Results: 502 parents participated. Mean age of the child was 3 years and 32% have had at least one AOM episode during the last 12 months. The great majority of parents agreed that recommended vaccines are important (94%) and useful (94%) for children's health. Parents felt that their knowledge on AOM was very (27%) or somewhat (54%) sufficient. Most parents (73%) thought that antibiotics use was always useful to treat an AOM and 54% estimated that vaccination is an effective mean of preventing AOM. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the surveyed parents were willing to vaccinate their child with a new vaccine offering larger spectrum of protection against AOM. A higher proportion of parents whose child had experienced an AOM were willing to have their children vaccinated. The strongest predictor of parental willingness to vaccinate was subjective norm, or the perception that the other parent of the child and the doctor will approve/recommend the vaccination behaviour.
Conclusions: When new vaccines are available, a key issue is the willingness of parents to adopt it. Health providers should be aware of their important role to inform parents and promote immunization.