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Childhood vaccination uptake and factors affecting this in athens, greece

Babatsikou Fotoula

Background: The epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases has been modified by the development and implementation of vaccination programs but the suboptimal vaccination rates constitute an important component of the health care debate worldwide. Aim: This study attempted to assess the vaccination coverage of preschool and primary school children in Athens, Greece, highlight weaknesses, identify gaps in the primary health care of these age groups, and assess the potential effect of the parental socioeconomic characterisitics, attitudes, and education regarding immunization. Material and Methods: Three hundred and four children 0-12 years old attending day care units and primary schools of six distinct areas in Athens, were registered. The epidemiologic data were presented according to the descriptive epidemiology and the statistical analysis was performed with the method of x2 test for probable correlation of vaccine coverage with several variables. Results: The percentage of fully vaccinated was 94.8% for D.T.P., 99.2% for poliomyelitis, 63.3% for M.M.R. additionally to 36.2% for measles, 29% for rubella, and 30.2% for mumps, mounting to a vaccination coverage equal to 99.5% for measles, 93.5% for mumps, and 92.3% for rubella, and 64.5% for the newly introduced Hepatitis B. Among all parents, 16.25% explained that their offspring were unvaccinated as a result of badly organized family program. A minority of 26.3% (80) were immunized against TBC. Conclusions: The immunization rate identified in this study of a representatively selected urban population was higher than those identified in other studies concerning the Greek population especially when compared to rural areas.