Aim: In this study we aimed to investigate the health literacy state of parents who refused one or more vaccines in the immunization schedule of their children for the first 24 months, and other situations that could be associated with vaccine rejection.
Methods: All of the families who were registered to the Bağlaraltı Family Health center between January 2020 – April 2020 and who refused one or more vaccines in the immunization schedule of their children for the first 24 months were included in this study. The participants were divided into two groups as those with vaccine rejection and those without vaccine rejection. A sociodemographic data form and the European Health Literacy Survey short version were applied using a face-to-face technique.
Results: In the study that we performed with 44 families with vaccine rejection and 44 families without vaccine rejection, statistically no difference was observed between the two groups in terms of educational status, income level, smoking and alcohol usage. Limited-inadequate health literacy was associated with vaccine rejection (p=0.16). In the group with vaccine rejection, the rate of mothers who refused the tetanus vaccine during their pregnancy and the OGTT test was higher than in the control group (p<0.001). The number of primary care applications was lower in the group with vaccine rejection (p<0.001) and it was detected that these families applied less to health care institutions (p=0.022). 59.09% of the parents indicated that they refused to get their children vaccinated because they found it harmful and 56.82% of them were influenced by others who refused vaccination.
Conclusions: Low health literacy had a negative effect on decisions of families for vaccination of their children. Vaccine rejection is at the same time associated with less usage of the health care system. Family physicians must reach out to these families and give them the necessary training.