ATHENS – In a country where people are reluctant to use generic drugs, believing they don’t work, some 60 percent of Greeks also think that vaccinations aren’t effective and don’t want them.
The survey Hellas Health VII by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, based on a sample of 1000 people, showed most Greeks won’t take vaccinations, thinking they don’t stop infectious diseases and 30 percent are afraid of side effects, believing they are as bad as or even worse than the illness they’re designed to prevent.
More than 40 percent of parents who have their children vaccinated admit they are “fairly” or “not at all” informed about the need for immunization.
Yiannis Toundas, a social and preventive medicine professor at the University of Athens who took part in the survey, told Kathimerini that one of the main findings of the study was the low vaccination coverage among Greek adults.
“This is due to two main reasons, namely the lack of information – a problem which is linked to the absence of family doctors – and unjustified concern over the possible dangers of vaccines among Greeks who ignore the fact that the benefits far outweigh the small risks that could arise. It is the responsibility of doctors to quell these concerns,” he said.
Asked where they find information on immunization (more than one answer was allowed), 57 percent of respondents said from their doctor, 37 percent said the media (TV, radio, the press), and 34 percent said the web.
The poll found that only 30 percent have received a flu shot as adults, 25 percent have been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (which experts say must be administered every 10 years), 15 percent have been immunized against pneumococcal infection, and 14 percent against hepatitis B.