Vaccine Education of Medical Students: A Nationwide Cross-sectional Survey

Am J Prev Med. 2017 Sep;53(3):e97-e104. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.014. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Physicians play a primary role in vaccination of the population. Strong initial training of medical students is therefore essential to enable them to fulfill this role. This cross-sectional nationwide online survey conducted between September 2015 and January 2016 obtained 2,118 completed surveys from 6,690 eligible respondents (response rate, 32%) at 27 of 32 medical schools in France regarding their education about vaccination. The data were analyzed in April-June 2016. The survey covered their knowledge, attitudes, practices, and perceptions, and assessed their level of perceived preparedness for their future practice as interns. Around a third of the students (n=708, 34%) felt insufficiently prepared for questions about vaccination, especially for communicating with patients on side effects (n=1,381, 66%) and strategies to respond to vaccine hesitancy (n=1,217, 58%). The mean knowledge score was 26/45 (SD=7.9). Lecture courses, which are the main education method used in French medical schools (1,891/5,660 responses, 33%), were considered effective by only 11% of students (693/6,155 responses), whereas practical training was significantly associated with better perceived preparedness (p<0.001). In conclusion, education about vaccination during medical school in France is not optimal. Methods based on practical learning methods (case-based learning, clinical placements, and other hands-on methods) appear to produce the best results and must be favored for improving students' preparedness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Medical*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaccination*
  • Young Adult