Safety concerns common reason for hepatitis B vaccine refusal
SAN DIEGO — Safety and uncertainty involving the risk for hepatitis B are reasons for barriers to vaccine uptake, according to recent study findings presented at the 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.
“Universal hepatitis B vaccination is recommended beginning in the immediate post-natal period,” Bronwyn Baz, MD, of Oregon Health and Science University, wrote in the abstract. “Refusal remains a barrier to universal inoculation. Studying the qualities of groups refusing vaccines, including hepatitis B, may be helpful in identifying strategies for uptake improvement. We assessed uptake of the newborn hepatitis vaccine … with the goal of assessing reasons for refusal and identifying potential interventions.”
Baz conducted a survey to determine if parents intended to vaccinate their infant at the 2-week pediatric appointment. In analyzing 659 surveys, consent for the vaccine was given by 81% of participants, and 8% planned it at the 2-week visit. Five percent of participants did not want the vaccine, and 6% were undecided.
The most common reason for consent to vaccinate was its importance “to prevent illness” (87.4%). The most common reason for refusal was “my baby is too young” (78.1%), followed by “I don’t think my child is at risk for hepatitis B” (43.8%). “Concerns regarding the safety of the vaccine” was the most common answer given for why participants refused vaccination (70.4%).
Those who refused most commonly got their information from the Internet, childbirth classes or other sources (P<.05).
“The majority of parents — including vaccine refusers — indicated interest in researching medical sources and willingness to discuss the vaccine with providers,” Baz wrote. “Interventions such as presenting a balanced approach discussing benefits and risks, discussing vaccines earlier in the pregnancy, recommending factual resources, and being open to discussing alternatives (eg, timing) were indicated as possibly beneficial.
“The next study would evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions in [obstetric] visits, birth classes, and website resources, and expand them to other vaccination uptake efforts if indicated.”
For more information:
Baz B. #23186. Presented at: 2014 AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 11-14; San Diego.
Disclosure: Infectious Diseases in Children was unable to confirm any relevant financial disclosures.