Measuring people's knowledge about vaccination: developing a one-dimensional scale

Vaccine. 2012 May 28;30(25):3771-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.03.014. Epub 2012 Mar 20.


We propose a new scale to measure people's general knowledge about vaccinations. The scale's psychometric properties and its relationship with people's willingness to vaccinate were examined in two studies. In Study 1, a representative sample of the German- and French-speaking populations in Switzerland (N=1123) responded to a mail survey. In Study 2, members of an online panel answered the same questions (N=233). The results of both studies suggest that people differ considerably in their ability to correctly answer questions related to vaccinations. Mokken scale analyses and a test-retest analysis showed that nine items form a one-dimensional scale with good psychometric properties. In both studies, a substantial correlation between knowledge and willingness to vaccinate was observed. The scale proposed in this study is well suited for research examining group differences. In a time when new media such as the Internet is highly accessible to most people, misconceptions can easily be spread. A good knowledge scale is important for measuring possible knowledge changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Health Communication / methods*
  • Health Communication / trends
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Media / trends*
  • Switzerland
  • Vaccination / adverse effects
  • Vaccination / psychology*