Concerns about the safety and adverse reactions of rapidly developed vaccines against COVID-19 contributed to parents’ vaccine hesitancy and this situation created an opportunity for anti-vaccine campaigners. The aim of this study is to examine the changes in parents’ attitudes towards childhood vaccines during the course of COVID-19 pandemic.
In this cross-sectional study, parents of children who applied to the outpatient clinic of pediatric department of Trakya University Hospital between August 2020 and February 2021 were recruited into two study groups according to COVID-19 peak time in Türkiye. Group 1 included parents who applied after first peak of COVID-19 pandemic and Group 2 included parents of children who applied after second peak. The WHO’s 10-item Vaccine Hesitancy Scale was applied to each group.
610 parents agreed to participate in the study. Group 1 and 2 consisted of 160 and 450 parents, respectively. While the number of parents who were hesitant about childhood vaccines was 17 (10.6 %) in Group 1, it was 90 (20 %) in Group 2. Statistically significant difference was found between the two groups (p = 0.008). The WHO’s 10-item Vaccine Hesitancy Scale mean score was found to be higher in Group 2 (23.7 ± 6.9) than Group 1 (21.3 ± 7.3) (p < 0.001). The WHO's 10-item Vaccine Hesitancy Scale mean scores (20.0 ± 6.5) of parents who experienced COVID-19 infection themselves or their family or acquaintances had significantly lower than those who did not (24.7 ± 6.9) (p < 0.001).
The hesitant attitudes towards childhood and COVID-19 vaccines were low in parents who somehow encountered COVID-19 or were worried about the devastating effects of this disease. On the other hand, it has been shown that as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, parents’ hesitations towards childhood vaccines increase.

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