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Objectives: Vaccination is the provision of a vaccine to initiate immunity trough stimulating immune system to develop protection from a certain disease. When a sufficiently large proportion of a population has been vaccinated, herd immunity initiated. The effectiveness of vaccination has been widely studied and verified. Although the harsh vaccine safety systems, some parents remain minded regarding the safety of the childhood vaccines and immunization schedule. These hesitations pushed some parents to not allow their children to receive some or all the scheduled vaccines. The aim of the study is to assess the general population awareness regarding vaccines and to detect prevalence of vaccine hesitancy in Aseer region, southern of Saudi Arabia. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional approach was used targeting all parents in Aseer region. Data were collected using structured questionnaire which developed by the researchers after intensive literature review and expert’s consultation. The questionnaire data included parents’ socio-demographic data, parents’ awareness regarding child vaccines safety and efficacy, parents’ attitude and adherence to children vaccination and hesitancy towards vaccines. Results: The survey included 796 participants whose ages ranged from 18 to 55 years old. Two thirds (63.4%) of the participants were females. Regarding vaccination adherence and hesitancy among participants, more than three quarters were completely adherent to the child vaccination schedule and only 3.9% were non adherent. As for participants awareness regarding child vaccination safety and efficacy, 89.3% of the respondents agreed on that vaccination keep child healthy, 84.2% reported that child vaccine is safe and effective, 83.4% said that all Saudi scheduled vaccines are effective. Conclusion: In conclusion, the study revealed that vaccine hesitancy among participants was not low and should be considered irrespective of their high awareness level. The recorded antivaccine action was mostly related to vaccines safety not efficacy.
Keywords: Vaccine hesitancy, antivaccine movement, parents, awareness, adherence
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