Low Uptake of Meningococcal C Vaccination in France: A Cross-sectional Nationwide Survey of General Practitioners’ Perceptions, Attitudes and Practices

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Abstract

Background:

Meningococcal C glycoconjugate vaccine (MenCV) has been recommended in France since 2010, but its uptake remains low (64% coverage among 2-year-olds in 2014). Because general practitioners (GPs) are the cornerstone of the French vaccination program, we sought to assess their perceptions, attitudes, practices and recommendations to patients for this vaccine.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey in 2014 asked a national sample of 1582 GPs if they would recommend MenCV for patients 12 months of age (routine vaccination) and 2–24 years of age (catch-up vaccination) and explored the barriers to vaccination.

Results:

Overall, 52% of GPs (800/1547) reported they always recommend routine MenCV vaccination and 33% (523/1572), catch-up vaccination. The most frequently reported barriers to vaccination were that parents have never heard of this vaccine (72%, 1094/1523), underestimate the risk of contracting meningococcal disease (69%, 1049/1514) and are unaware of its seriousness (55%, 838/1537). In multivariate analyses, GPs recommended routine and catch-up vaccination significantly more often when they had no doubt about the utility and safety of this vaccine, when they thought that the official MenCV recommendation was clear and when their own children were vaccinated. GPs who reported that their patients either were unaware of the severity of bacterial meningitis (P = 0.012) or had no doubts about the efficacy of MenCV recommended catch-up vaccination more often (P = 0.015).

Conclusions:

GPs did not appear to recommend MenCV often enough. Our results suggest that clearer recommendations and a better communications campaign directed at patients and healthcare workers could be useful.

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