Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Pediatricians About COVID-19 Vaccination to Children

Sisli Etfal Hastan Tip Bul. 2024 Apr 5;58(1):116-123. doi: 10.14744/SEMB.2023.46690. eCollection 2024.

Abstract

Objectives: Achieving high vaccination rates is very important in the prevention of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as in other infectious diseases. This study aimed to evaluate pediatricians' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about COVID-19 vaccination of children.

Methods: Our single-center, descriptive, cross-sectional, prospective study was conducted between September 20, 2022 and November 30, 2022. The sample consisted of 350 physicians who agreed to fill out the questionnaire voluntarily. Participants were asked 21 questions about their sociodemographic data, knowledge about COVID-19 vaccination of children, attitudes and behaviours via Google Forms.

Results: A total of 350 pediatricians, 72.6% of whom were women, participated in our study. 51.4% of the participants were working in a Training and Research Hospital, and 99.1% had received COVID-19 vaccination themselves. While 65.7% (n=230) of pediatricians recommended COVID-19 vaccination for all children, 27.7% (n=97) recommended it only for children in the risk group, and 6.6% (n=23) did not recommend COVID-19 vaccination for children. The most common reasons why pediatricians did not recommend the vaccine to all children were; 56.7% lack of sufficient clinical research on vaccination in children, 50% concerns about the long-term effects of the vaccine, 27.5% vaccine-related side effects. The most risk groups for which participants recommended vaccination were asthma (chronic lung disease) 84.6%, diabetes mellitus 72%, and immunodeficiency 69.7%. 68.9% of pediatricians knew that COVID-19 vaccine was used for children aged 12 years and older in Türkiye, and 60.9% thought that COVID-19 vaccine was safe for children. Those who thought that COVID-19 vaccine was safe for children were more likely to recommend the vaccine to children (p<0.001). When the answers given to the knowledge questions were analyzed, it was found that the knowledge level of those who did not recommend vaccination to children was lower than the others (p<0.001).

Conclusion: In the present study, pediatricians mostly recommend COVID-19 vaccine to children. The vaccine safety and the level of knowledge about COVID-19 vaccine are effective factors in recommending the vaccine. Therefore, we conclude that trainings to be organized for pediatricians about COVID-19 vaccine will increase the rate of recommending COVID-19 vaccine to children.

Keywords: Attitude; COVID-19; children; knowledge; pediatrician; vaccination.