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Health studies Doctors play key role in vaccination advice

Patient being vaccinated

The studies from three universities and research institutes are part of the government's national vaccination strategy.

(Keystone/Georgios Kefalas)

Medical staff plays a key role in advising people in Switzerland about vaccinations, according to new studies commissioned by the government.

Doctors and pharmacists are considered the most reliable sources of information, the Federal Health Office said. Researchers also found that critics of vaccination tend to know less about immunisation than supporters.

Most people rely on the expertise of their family doctors or on information available online, but to a lesser extent on specialist doctors or pharmacists.

A studyexternal link from the università della Svizzera italianaexternal link identified considerable regional differences about the attitude towards vaccinations with respondents in the main German-speaking part of the country being more sceptical than people in the French and Italian-speaking regions.

However, the researchers could not confirm previous findings that the Swiss population is not as knowledgeable about the topic of vaccination than people in Europe.

The health authorities recommend better specific education of medical students and midwives as well as boosting further training for counselling, according to statement published on Monday.

The studies are based on an online survey among about 5,000 Swiss residents in March 2018 and a series of in-depth interviews with selected among the respondents.

In 2017, the government launched a national vaccination strategyexternal link in an effort to improve protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

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