Doctors in France have Changing Attitudes & Practices Towards Vaccines

According to a recent publication, “Given the widespread scepticism, which is contributing to inadequate coverage for some vaccines, the general physician plays a major role in matters of prevention and information. The survey, conducted by Pierre Verger (Inserm Unit 912, “Economics and Social Sciences Applied to Health and Analysis of Medical Information — SESSTIM”) between April and July 2014, has attempted to capture the practices of general physicians in different vaccination scenarios. The results obtained provide a better understanding of the factors in the reticence–or confidence–of physicians with respect to some vaccines.”

Furthermore, “Some physicians express doubt concerning the risk of serious side-effects from certain vaccines, even when these doubts are refuted by the results of pharmacovigilance and epidemiological studies (e.g. regarding hepatitis B vaccine and the presence of adjuvants in some vaccines). Thus 6% of physicians questioned consider it likely, or even probable, that there is an association between papillomavirus vaccine and the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Over a quarter of them (26%) also believe that some vaccines recommended by the public authorities are unnecessary, and 20% even believe that children are vaccinated against too many diseases.

The existence of such hesitation on the part of general physicians is directly associated with less regular recommendations for vaccination to their patients. Most of these doubts, like those of the general population, relate to vaccines that have been controversial in France (hepatitis B vaccine, human papillomavirus vaccine).

However, more surprisingly, a proportion of general physicians hesitate to recommend vaccines of proven safety and efficacy (meningococcal C and measles vaccines). For the moment, these hesitations affect only a minority of general physicians (again depending on the vaccine), but constitute an additional impediment to the maintenance of enough vaccine coverage in the population to protect it against infectious diseases that are still dangerous.”

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INSERM. “Vaccines: Practices, hesitancy among general physicians in France.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150708111003.htm>.

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