Objective. To determine parental thresholds for accepting vaccines for otitis media prevention given tradeoffs of efficacy, adverse effects, and administration mode.
Method. We interviewed 601 randomly selected parents with children 0 through 6 years of age presenting to our community pediatric clinic. For each of five hypothetical vaccines, which varied administration mode from nasal spray to two injections and adverse effects from mild to severe, parents indicated the lowest number of otitis media episodes that the vaccine had to prevent in the next 6 months for them to accept the vaccine.
Results. About half the parents would accept any one of the vaccines if it would prevent three or more infections in the next 6 months. When the vaccine would prevent one episode of otitis media over the next 6 months, 33% of parents would accept the medial vaccine (one injection in the thigh, with some children getting a red, sore injection site and a few having a fever of ≤102°F for one day). Seventeen percent accepted a vaccine requiring two injections (influenza vaccine-like) or having increased adverse effects (pneumococcal vaccine-like) despite the vaccine only preventing one episode of otitis media over the next 6 months. No substantial differences in these proportions were found when compared among groups by reason-for-visit, recent occurrence of otitis media, or a history of recurrent otitis media in a sibling.
Conclusion. Many parents will accept low efficacy vaccines for otitis media prevention. Parental acceptance does not vary with the child's otitis media experience but does vary with severity of adverse effects and administration mode of the vaccine.
- Received January 25, 1994.
- Accepted June 14, 1994.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics