Background: SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of all age-eligible populations is an important part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. In Ontario, vaccination coverage in 5-to-11-year-old children has remained lower than in other age groups. We sought to understand pediatricians’ perception, practices, and barriers to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in children, particularly children aged 5-to-11 years, to inform interventions and promote capacity of pediatricians as vaccinators and vaccination promoters. Methods: This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study consisting of an online self-administered questionnaire distributed to 1,313 pediatricians in Ontario. Descriptive statistics, including Chi-square or Fisher’s exact tests, were performed. Results: In total, 152 Pediatricians responded (11.6% response rate), from February 17, 2022 to March 17, 2022. 78% of respondents were general pediatricians and 22% were pediatric subspecialists. Median years of practice was 17 (8-31), with 68% female, 32% male. Most pediatricians thought it was unlikely that children aged 5-to-11 years would become seriously ill from acute COVID-19 caused by Delta (66%) or Omicron (80%). 92% were very likely to recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-to-11 years. COVID-19 vaccine was perceived as safe, with higher safety perception in children aged 5-to-11 compared to 12-to-17 years (p<0.0001). COVID-19 vaccines were thought to be effective in reducing hospitalization or severe illness, and reducing SARS-CoV-2 infection, with higher perceived effectiveness against Delta compared to Omicron (p<0.0001). 97% felt confident counselling caregivers of children aged 5-to-11 years on the COVID-19 vaccine. Few pediatricians did not feel confident in accessing resources for health professionals (6%) or for patients/caregivers (12%). Conclusions: Most surveyed pediatricians were very likely to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-to-11-years, perceived COVID-19 vaccines as safe and effective, and felt confident in their COVID-19 vaccine counselling for children aged 5-to-11 years. However, there remains areas for further training and capacity development.

Fuente: Vaccine
Available online 3 April 2023