Vaccine confidence and hesitancy in Brazil

Despite the overall benefits of immunization, vaccine hesitancy has been a growing trend and has been associated with the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases. The aim of this study was to assess vaccine confidence and hesitancy in Brazil, as part of a wider project to map vaccine confidence globally. One thousand subjects were interviewed, either online or face-to-face, based on a general questionnaire regarding perceptions on vaccines and vaccination. Further exploratory questions were used with the subset of respondents who were parents of children aged under 5. Such questions extracted information regarding vaccination behavior, opinions on vaccination and government health services, and vaccine hesitancy. Reasons for hesitancy were classified as relating to confidence, convenience and/or complacency, and the population was also analyzed socio-demographically. The results showed that overall confidence in immunization was higher than confidence in family planning services, community health workers and emergency services. Seventy-six people reported hesitancy to vaccinate. The commonest reasons for hesitancy were issues with confidence (41.4%), efficacy/safety of the vaccine (25.5%) and concerns about adverse events (23.6%). The sociodemographic analysis revealed that vaccine hesitancy was associated with marital status, level of education and income. Despite overall vaccine confidence being high, a clear trend toward lower levels of confidence was associated with higher levels of hesitancy, which warrants on-going monitoring, due to the dynamic and changing nature of vaccine hesitancy.