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Study to gauge attitudes towards vaccinations, aims to increase confidence in vaccines


The vaccination coverage in Finland remains mostly at a good level, but it is already too low in certain regions. According to Hämeenlinna-based maternity and child health clinic physician Anu Mähönen, vaccine skepticism has increased slightly.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is launching a study to gauge the reasons behind vaccine skepticism and vaccine confidence. The THL study will focus on three themes: how families make decisions on vaccinations, how anti-vaccine and pro-vaccine attitudes are manifested among health care personnel, and what are the thoughts and beliefs of people who are against vaccines. 

The goal of the study is to develop tools for increasing vaccine confidence among Finns. The study will include regions where there are clear patterns of vaccine opposition. One such city is Hämeenlinna, where the chickenpox vaccine, for example, has only been administered to 95 per cent of the local children.

THL Senior Researcher Jonas Sivelä says it is important to talk about the diseases that vaccines protect people from. Today’s parents were born during a time of high vaccination coverage in the 1970s–1990s, so they may not even be aware of these diseases. In addition, a child who is taken ill with a disease that is covered by the National Immunisation Programme may have symptoms that are so uncommon that the child’s parents and medical professionals may not recognise them. This can delay diagnosis and treatment.

The planning and funding of the study has already started.