The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parents’ behavior toward scheduled pediatric vaccinations in Saudi Arabia
Keywords:parent's behavior, Saudi Arabia, vaccine delay, COVID-19, immunization
Introduction: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus and has resulted in a global pandemic. The World Health Organization recommended avoiding any delay or disruption of immunization services, as this could result in increases in outbreak-prone vaccine-preventable diseases. This study aimed to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parents’ behaviour towards their children’s scheduled vaccinations.
Methodology: This web-based cross-sectional study recruited 1,143 parents/guardians of children below six years of age living in Saudi Arabia between May 1 and May 30, 2020 via social media platforms. A self-developed online questionnaire consisting of eight items was used. Simple and multiple binary logistic regression was used to determine the factors associated with vaccine delay during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results: The parents/guardians were aged 20–60 years; 82% were aged between 20 and 39 years. It was found that 26% of parents did not vaccinate their children on time according to the national immunization schedule in regular situations, and 38% of parents reported delaying vaccination due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The multiple logistic regression analysis found that having two or more children, living in Riyadh or the Western region or not vaccinating children during regular situations were associated with an increased risk of vaccine delay during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusions: Delaying children’s vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic was influenced most by living in regions with high COVID-19 prevalence and having two or more children.
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