Vaccine Education of Medical Students: A Nationwide Cross-sectional Survey

Published:February 22, 2017DOI:
      Physicians play a primary role in vaccination of the population. Strong initial training of medical students is therefore essential to enable them to fulfill this role. This cross-sectional nationwide online survey conducted between September 2015 and January 2016 obtained 2,118 completed surveys from 6,690 eligible respondents (response rate, 32%) at 27 of 32 medical schools in France regarding their education about vaccination. The data were analyzed in April–June 2016. The survey covered their knowledge, attitudes, practices, and perceptions, and assessed their level of perceived preparedness for their future practice as interns. Around a third of the students (n=708, 34%) felt insufficiently prepared for questions about vaccination, especially for communicating with patients on side effects (n=1,381, 66%) and strategies to respond to vaccine hesitancy (n=1,217, 58%). The mean knowledge score was 26/45 (SD=7.9). Lecture courses, which are the main education method used in French medical schools (1,891/5,660 responses, 33%), were considered effective by only 11% of students (693/6,155 responses), whereas practical training was significantly associated with better perceived preparedness (p<0.001). In conclusion, education about vaccination during medical school in France is not optimal. Methods based on practical learning methods (case-based learning, clinical placements, and other hands-on methods) appear to produce the best results and must be favored for improving students’ preparedness.
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