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Introduction: The novel SARs-CoV2 coronavirus has infected approximately 30,000,000 people in the USA. To date, approximately 146 million doses of SARs-CoV2 vaccines have been administered. Perceptions of rapid vaccine development have resulted in reported vaccine hesitancy and refusal. Though not currently FDA approved for use in pediatric populations, but pediatric vaccination may contribute to herd immunity. Previous study demonstrates that physician recommendations significantly impact perceptions of routine pediatric immunizations among parents. Given this historical data, this study aimed to describe the strength of recommendation by pediatricians for the SARs-CoV2 vaccine for pediatric patients and their parents.
Methods: A 10-question single-institution anonymous survey was distributed to physicians in the Department of Pediatrics, consisting of 2 demographic questions, 5 Likert-style survey questions on vaccine recommendations, and 2 free-responses for comments on current vaccine development for thematic analysis.
Results: There were 90 survey responses, and no responses were excluded from analysis. The most common sources of vaccine information among pediatricians were peer-reviewed journals (51%) and major broadcast or print materials (30%). A majority of pediatricians indicated that they read about vaccine information either weekly (44%) or monthly (27%). Of the survey respondents, 99% indicated that they had personally received a SARs-CoV2 vaccine. For pediatric vaccine recommendations, 69% responded that they strongly encouraged their pediatric patients to receive a SARs-CoV2 vaccine, compared to 87% recommending SARs-CoV2 vaccine for parents and 96% recommending the annual influenza vaccine. Thematic analysis of free response questions demonstrated that physicians cited the need for herd immunity (42%) and the protection of their patients (41%) as reasons for recommending the vaccine, and cited lack of research or FDA approval of vaccine use in pediatric populations (61%) as reasons for recommending against receiving the vaccine.
Conclusions: This single-center survey study demonstrated that a majority of pediatricians strongly encourage their pediatric patients to receive a SARs-CoV2 vaccine, though not as strongly as they recommend vaccination to their patients’ parents or vaccination against influenza. Thematic analysis indicated that physicians cite the need for population-level herd immunity as well as individual-level protection from SARs-CoV2 infection as a basis for their vaccine recommendations.
Khandalavala, Karl; Simonsen, Kari; and Robinson, Jeffrey A., "Perceptions of Pediatricians on the SARs-CoV2 Vaccine" (2021). Child Health Research Institute Pediatric Research Forum. 21.