Knowledge and practices regarding infant vaccination: results of a survey of French physicians

  • Pierre BakhacheEmail author
  • Brigitte Virey
  • Christina Bienenfeld
Original Article


A prospective, observational, survey of pediatricians and general practitioners (GPs) was conducted to assess pediatric vaccination knowledge and practices. The survey was distributed by email to 1069 pediatricians and 1700 GPs and completed by 151 pediatricians (14.1%) and 201 GPs (11.8%). Knowledge of the vaccination calendar was very good (99% overall). Of the respondents, 98% were confident in vaccine efficacy. Eight-one percent of pediatricians and 62% of GPs agreed that recommended vaccinations should become obligatory; all prescribed hexavalent vaccines often or always. More pediatricians (88%) than GPs (75%) used anti-pyretics; the use of anesthetic cream/patches was similar in each group (79% and 75%, respectively). The ambience at vaccination was considered to be important by both groups, and was disturbed in 37% of cases. Seventy percent of pediatricians and 57% of GPs agreed that vaccine reconstitution (e.g., Hib pellet) is a complicating factor: overall, 28% reported occasionally omitting to reconstitute a pentavalent or hexavalent vaccine in error, and 60% reported having not fully reconstituted the vaccine. Almost all (93%) considered non-reconstitution as an important error.

Conclusion: Overall, adherence to good vaccination practices was good, although errors in reconstitution were reported by physicians. These problems would be minimized by wider use of fully liquid vaccines.

What is Known:

• Pediatric vaccination schedules are crowded.

• Good vaccination practices and the use of multivalent vaccines are essential to maintain good compliance to pediatric vaccination recommendations.

What is New:

• Overall good compliance to good vaccination practices by both pediatricians and GPs in France.

• Omission of pentavalent or hexavalent vaccine reconstitution of Hib pellet and incomplete reconstitution reported by pediatricians/GPs. Awareness of pediatricians/GPs that omission and incomplete reconstitution are important errors.


Fully liquid vaccine General practitioner Hexavalent vaccine Pediatrician vaccine reconstitution 



Acellular pertussis




General practitioner


Haemophilus influenzae type b


Hepatitis B


Inactivated poliovirus


Hib polysaccharide conjugated to tetanus protein




United States of America



The authors would like to thank Dr. Andrew Lane (Lane Medical Writing), funded by Sanofi Pasteur, for the assistance with the production of this manuscript in accordance with the European Medical Writers Association guidelines and Good Publication Practice.

Authors’ contributions

PK acted as coordinators for the study participants and were involved in the design of the survey, data collection, data interpretation, and review and approval of the manuscript.

BV acted as coordinators for the study participants and were involved in the design of the survey, data collection, data interpretation, and review and approval of the manuscript.

CB was involved in the design of the survey, data interpretation, and review and approval of the manuscript.


This study was funded by Sanofi Pasteur, Lyon, France.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

PB and BV are members of some advisory groups on vaccination practices; invited participant to medical congresses by Sanofi and Merck Sharp & Dohme; and invited participant to continuing medical education congresses and symposia by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, and Merck Sharp & Dohme. CB is an employee of IFOP, a polling and market research institute that conducts projects on behalf of various stakeholders, including life science companies. This particular project was funded by Sanofi Pasteur.

Informed consent

Informed consent is not applicable as patients were not included in the study, which was a survey of general practitioners and pediatricians.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Bakhache
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Brigitte Virey
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christina Bienenfeld
    • 3
  1. 1.AFPA, Association Française de Pédiatrie AmbulatoireSt-QuentinFrance
  2. 2.INFOVACSaint-Maur-des-FossésFrance
  3. 3.IFOP HealthcareParisFrance

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