For a study, researchers sought to investigate the degree of knowledge, attitudes, and practices about immunization in preterm newborns among primary care physicians (PCPs) and health care workers (HCWs) in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Data were obtained from PCPs via an email-based private questionnaire, whilst the study team provided an anonymous self-administered questionnaire to all HCWs working in the selected NICUs.
Overall, 64.1% of HCWs believe that immunizations for preterm newborns are highly safe. In addition, the vast majority of HCWs (69.8%) responded that they always advise parents of preterm newborns to vaccinate their children on the same schedule as term infants. This behavior was significantly more likely among those who were aware that the vaccination schedule for preterm infants is the same as for term infants, who thought preterm infant vaccines were very effective, and who strongly agreed that preterm infants should be vaccinated on the same schedule as term infants. Furthermore, PCPs were more likely than NICU doctors to always suggest that preterm newborns’ parents follow the vaccination schedule of term infants, although NICU nurses were much less likely to do so.
To offset missing or delayed vaccines, physicians and nurses were needed in the NICU and the community. In addition, HCW participation in healthcare quality improvement programs promoting timely vaccines in preterm newborns should be encouraged.