INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to determine society's tendency to vaccination from the views of family physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: The population of the study was family physicians working in primary care and the data collection was done in November 2019 and December 2020 in the Erzurum province of Turkey. In 2019 and 2020, the total number of family physicians working in Erzurum city were 135 and 134, respectively. The participation rates in both study periods were 120 doctors (around 88.9-89.5% response rate).
RESULTS: The medians of the physicians durations in the profession in 2019 and 2020 were 8.0 (4.0-11.0) years and 8.0 (3.0-12.0) years, respectively (p=0.990). The proportion of doctors who perceived social media as the reason for vaccination refusal increased from 56 (46.7%) to 92 (76.7%) within one year (p<0.001). Besides, 22 (18.3%) of the participants, who claimed that the patient prefers catching the disease instead of being vaccinated in 2019, had increased to 45 (37.5%) in 2020 (p<0.001). Furthermore, 103 (85.8%) of the participants reported that
adult vaccination rates have increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the proportion of doctors, who takes a signed refusal instead of convincing the anti-vaxxers, had increased to 96 (80.0%) from 73 (60.8%) (p=0.001).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly influenced the views of family physicians on the impact of social media on vaccine refusal. Considering the increasing social media activity during the pandemic process, accurate information activities on vaccination should be planned.