FACTORS INFLUENCING PARENTS’ AWARENESS REGARDING CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATION: FINDINGS OF CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY IN NORTHEAST PENANG ISLAND DISTRICT, MALAYSIA
Background: Vaccines play an important role in preventing serious infectious diseases in childhood. There are still existences of unvaccinated children with current immunization system in Malaysia. The aim of this study was to measure parents’ knowledge and practice regarding childhood immunization awareness and to evaluate their association with parental socio-demographic factors.
Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among parents with child aged 6 years old and below who visited public health clinics in District of Northeast Penang Island from October to December 2017. A total of 147 respondents were recruited by convenience sampling. Data was collected using a validated self-administered questionnaire.
Result: The mean of knowledge score and practice score among parents were 6.40 and 6.99 respectively. Significant association was noted for knowledge score with employment status (p < 0.001), education level (p <0.001) and family income (p = 0.001). Practice score was found significantly associated with education level (p = 0.006) and family income (p = 0.014). Parents’ knowledge score was positively associated with their practice score (Spearman's correlation coefficient 0.291, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Immunization campaigns or education programs are required to improve parents’ knowledge and practice regarding childhood immunization awareness. Particular attention ought to be given to parents who were unemployed, with lower education level or family income.
Keywords: Childhood immunization, Parents, Awareness, Knowledge, Practice