NEWS

Poll reveals ignorance about vaccines

PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Health, Poll, Survey

Only six out in 10 Greeks believe in the effectiveness of vaccinations in combating the spread of infectious diseases, while three in 10 suspect that the risks of side effects are equal to or greater than the benefits, researchers have found.

According to a nationwide survey titled Hellas Health VII, conducted earlier this year by researchers at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine on a sample of 1,000 people, two out of 10 Greeks do not know that adults need to be vaccinated against some illnesses. Meanwhile, over 40 percent of parents who have their children vaccinated admit they are “fairly” or “not at all” informed about the need for immunization.

Yiannis Toundas, a social and preventive medicine professor at the University of Athens who took part in the survey, told Kathimerini that one of the main findings of the study was the low vaccination coverage among Greek adults.

“This is due to two main reasons, namely the lack of information – a problem which is linked to the absence of family doctors – and unjustified concern over the possible dangers of vaccines among Greeks who ignore the fact that the benefits far outweigh the small risks that could arise. It is the responsibility of doctors to quell these concerns,” he said.

Asked where they find information on immunization (more than one answer was allowed), 57 percent of respondents said from their doctor, 37 percent said the media (TV, radio, the press), and 34 percent said the web.

The poll found that only 30 percent have received a flu shot as adults, 25 percent have been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (which experts say must be administered every 10 years), 15 percent have been immunized against pneumococcal infection, and 14 percent against hepatitis B.

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