MONDAY, Aug. 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- People are more likely to recommend that a pregnant family member or friend get vaccinated to protect the infant from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) if they are shown information about the rigorous process a vaccine undergoes to receive approval or given a description of the risks of the illness, according to a new report from the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Ph.D., from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues used data from the 11th wave of the Annenberg Science and Public Health knowledge survey, which included 1,601 U.S. adults and was collected May 31 to June 6, 2023. The researchers examined the current state of knowledge regarding RSV vaccines and misconceptions about vaccination during pregnancy through survey results and an embedded experiment.
The researchers found that overall, the public knew little about RSV including its prevalence, symptoms, and potential severity, or facts about the vaccine. Just 13 percent of respondents knew about the existence of an approved vaccine against RSV for older adults, while 20 percent knew there was not a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine against RSV for those who are pregnant to benefit their newborns at the time of the survey. Overall, 19 percent of respondents knew there is currently not an FDA-approved vaccine against RSV for infants and children in the United States. Among respondents shown a flowchart about the vaccine approval process, 57 percent were very or somewhat likely to recommend the RSV vaccine to a pregnant family member or friend versus 40 percent of those not shown the chart. Similarly, participants informed about the risks of RSV were also more likely (58 percent) to recommend the vaccine.
"Over the years the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a sophisticated review system designed to protect the integrity of the data as well as the independence of the analysis on which the vaccination vetting and approval process relies," Jamieson said in a statement. "The public would be well served if the press were to remind the public of this review process when a new vaccine is announced and vigilantly monitor it to ensure that it is doing its intended job well."