To determine the knowledge, attitudes, and practices among health professionals regarding the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, particularly the second dose.
Self administered postal questionnaire survey.
North Wales Health Authority, 1998.
148 health visitors, 239 practice nurses, and 206 general practitioners.
Main outcome measures
Respondents' views on MMR vaccination, including their views on the likelihood of an association with autism and Crohn's disease and on who is the best person to give advice to parents, whether they agree with the policy of a second dose of the vaccine, and how confident they are in explaining the rationale behind the second dose.
Concerning the second dose of the vaccine, 48% of the professionals (220/460) had reservations and 3% (15) disagreed with the policy of giving it. Over half the professionals nominated health visitors as the best initial source of advice on the second vaccine. 61% of health visitors (86/140), compared with 46% of general practitioners (73/158), reported feeling very confident about explaining the rationale of a two dose schedule to a well informed parent, but only 20% (28/138) would unequivocally recommend the second dose to a wavering parent. 33% of the practice nurses (54/163) stated that the MMR vaccine was very likely or possibly associated with Crohn's disease and 27% (44/164) that it was associated with autism. Nearly a fifth of general practitioners (27/158) reported that they had not read the MMR section in the “green book,” and 29% (44/152) reported that they had not received the Health Education Authority's factsheet on MMR immunisation.
Knowledge and practice among health professionals regarding the second dose of the MMR vaccine vary widely. Many professionals are not aware of or do not use the good written resources that exist, though local educational initiatives could remedy this.