Vaccine hesitancy among Saudi parents and its determinants. Result from the WHO SAGE working group on vaccine hesitancy survey tool

Saudi Med J. 2019 Dec;40(12):1242-1250. doi: 10.15537/smj.2019.12.24653.


To assess the prevalence of vaccine hesitancy and its determinants among Saudi parents. In addition, we explored the relationship between vaccine hesitancy and child's immunization status. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using interviews with parents visiting outpatient clinics at King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, between July 2017 and October 2018. The strategic advisory group of experts on immunization vaccine hesitancy survey was used. Results: A total of 500 parents were interviewed. Twenty percent of parents were hesitant to get their child vaccinated. Parents with higher educational levels were more vaccine hesitant (p less than 0.001). Among parents who reported hesitancy toward vaccination, 36% of children were not vaccinated fully for their age. Concerns related to vaccine safety were the most frequent reason (53%) reported by vaccine-hesitant parents. Negative beliefs toward vaccination seemed to be associated with increase hesitancy and incomplete vaccination status of children. In multivariate analyses, the main factors associated with both parents' hesitancy and incomplete vaccination status were believing that vaccines are ineffective (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=28, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.9-102.3) and believing that vaccines are not important (AOR=27, 95% CI: 5.8-126). Conclusion: Vaccine hesitancy among parents in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a concern and is likely to influence the vaccination status of their children. Countering vaccine related concerns must be tailored, particularly in higher-educated groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vaccination / psychology*