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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 126-131

Vaccine hesitancy among medical practitioners

1 World Health Organization, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria
2 Department of Microbiology, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria
3 Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Semeeh Akinwale Omoleke
World Health Organization, Kebbi State
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DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_32_18

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Background: Vaccine hesitancy defined as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccination services is a global phenomenon. There have been anecdotal evidence or rather poor documentation of hesitancy or noncompliance among medical practitioners in Northern Nigeria. Objective: We explored the perceptions and perspectives of doctors in Kebbi State, Nigeria, on immunization programs. Materials and Methods: We conducted this cross-sectional study involving 63 medical doctors, whose self-administered questionnaires were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Only 43.55% of the doctors reported having under-five children with complete vaccination, whereas 84% of the doctors surveyed had a child or a relative with a child who had missed routine immunization (RI) previously. Approximately 66.67% and 67.74% of the doctors believed in the quality of the vaccine and capacity of the health workers to effectively deliver polio supplementary immunization activities (PSIAs), respectively. Adequate training of workers (26.23%) and public enlightenment campaigns (23.68%) were suggested as PSIAs enhancers. Collaboration with community and religious leaders (29.2%), education and public sensitization (28.09%), and improved government funding (13.48%) to improve RI were suggested. Others include incentives and fines (8.99%), adequate training of staff (10.11%), house-to-house vaccination (4.49%), and media publicity (5.62%). Conclusion: Vaccine hesitancy among medical doctors could be a threat to sustained polio interruption and efforts toward improving RI in Kebbi State. The state government and development partners should modify the current approaches to attaining polio-free certification standards and strengthen RI in the state. In addition, there is a need to improve sensitization of doctors in the state on vaccines and their safety profiles with a view to reducing vaccine hesitancy among them.

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