May 11, 2016
2 min read

Perceived nonefficacy cited for mumps vaccine refusals in Japan

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Recent findings published in Public Health indicated that perceived nonefficacy was significantly associated with mothers in Japan refusing the mumps vaccine for their children.

In addition, the researchers found that fear of harmful side effects, the vaccination not being mandatory and being busy also were significantly associated with refusing to vaccinate. Recommendations from family doctors, living abroad when their children would be vaccinated, and maternal age, however, were linked to choosing to vaccinate.

“Parental health beliefs especially the maternal awareness of vaccinations, influence the decision to vaccine children,” Yoko Tsuchiya, MPH, in the advanced research center for human science at Waseda University, and colleagues wrote. “In our study, recommendations from family doctors significantly predicted vaccination.”

WHO recommends the inclusion of mumps vaccinations in national programs, but this year, Japan has yet to do so. The mumps vaccination rate among eligible children remains at 30%, the researchers wrote. About 1 million Japanese children contract mumps annually, 60% of whom are aged younger than 6 years. In addition, previous data showed that 13 out of 1,051 natural mumps cases caused meningitis and that 1,800 to 2,000 natural mumps cases caused deafness annually. Despite this, no published studies have identified factors for increasing mumps vaccination in Japan.

In 2011, the researchers performed a cross-sectional study by administering questionnaires to 224 mothers that inquired about demographics, mumps vaccination status and barriers to immunization. They found that fear of harmful side effects (adjusted OR = 2.55; 95% CI, 1.1-5.89), the vaccination not being mandatory (aOR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.41-7.72), perceived nonefficacy (aOR = 6.21; 95% CI, 1.85-20.91), and being busy (aOR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.21-9.01) were significantly associated with failing to vaccinate.

In contrast, recommendations from family doctors (aOR = 0.35; 95% CI, 0.17-0.71), living abroad when their children would be vaccinated (aOR = 0.1; 95% CI, 0.02-0.68) and maternal age (aOR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85-0.96) were significantly associated with being vaccinated.

Currently, mumps vaccines cost $50 to $60 per patient, the researchers wrote, and only 15 of 1,727 municipalities in Japan covered the vaccine’s full cost.

“Social policy change such as institutional and policy change from ecological model perspectives could help [increase vaccine rates],” Tsuchiya and colleagues wrote. “Teaching about the potential consequences, the nature and value of vaccinations and having correct and safe vaccinations including those for mumps could improve the prevalence of mumps vaccination among children and prevent the consequences of having the mumps.” – by Will Offit


Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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