325. Are Younger Doctors More Skeptical of Vaccines?  Evaluation of a Provider Cohort Effect on Immunization Beliefs
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Challenges in Vaccinology and Vaccine Exploration
Friday, October 21, 2011
Room: Poster Hall B1
Background: Children’s health care providers have a strong influence on parents’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about vaccines. As cohorts of parents who have not experienced vaccine-preventable diseases come of childbearing age, their support of vaccines may be less than a cohort of parents who grew up directly experiencing the high rates of vaccine preventable diseases.  There is evidence in literature for this "cohort effect" among parents. There are currently no known studies evaluating a potential cohort effect on vaccine beliefs of health care providers.

Methods: We conducted a cross sectional survey in 2005 of primary care providers identified by parents of children whose children were fully vaccinated or exempt from one or more school immunization requirements. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios for the association of provider graduation cohort (5 years) with beliefs on immunization, disease susceptibility, disease severity, vaccine safety, and vaccine efficacy.

Results: Surveys were completed by 551 providers (84.3% response rate). Younger health care providers were more likely to believe that immunizations do more harm than good. More recent graduates had 15 percent decreased odds of believing vaccines are efficacious compared to older graduates. Younger graduates also had lower odds of believing that the inactivated polio, oral polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines were safe.

Conclusion: More recent health care provider graduates have an altered perception of the risk-benefit balance of immunization that signals a change in immunization beliefs in the new generation of providers compared to their older counterparts.  This cohort effect should be further investigated with a potential policy implication of improved vaccine-related medical curricula and training.


Subject Category: I. Adult and Pediatric Vaccines

Michelle Mergler, MHS, International Health, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Washington, DC and Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA


M. Mergler, None

S. B. Omer, None

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