Background: Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) causes significant morbidity and mortality among young children in India. Hib vaccines are safe and efficacious; nevertheless, their introduction to India's national immunization programme has been hindered by resistance from certain sectors of academia and civil society. We aimed to ascertain the attitudes and perceptions of Indian paediatricians towards Hib disease and vaccination.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional survey of knowledge, attitude and practices on Hib and vaccines was undertaken among 1000 Indian paediatricians who attended 49 th National Conference of Indian Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 through use of a 21-point questionnaire.
Results: 927 (93%) paediatricians completed the survey. 643 (69%) responded that Hib is a common disease in India. 788 (85%) reported prescribing Hib vaccine to their patients and 453 (49%) had done so for the past 5-15 years. Hib vaccine was used in combination with other vaccines by 814 (88%) of the participants. 764 (82%) respondents thought Hib vaccine effective while 750 (81%) thought it to be safe. Fever, pain and redness were the most frequently reported post vaccination side-effects. 445 (48%) paediatricians ranked universal use of Hib vaccine in the national immunization programme as the most important strategy to prevent and control Hib disease in India.
Conclusion: The excellent profile as reported by a large number of paediatricians from throughout India further strengthens evidence to support expanded use of currently available Hib vaccines. These findings should encourage the Government of India to initiate mass use of this vaccine nationwide.