28 Vaccine-sceptical patients and doctors in Switzerland


An increasing number of parents in Switzerland are having their children vaccinated incompletely, later than recommended or not at all. This leads to underuse of vaccines in the population at large, because vaccines are considered to be effective and safe.

Portrait / project description (ongoing research project)

Parents and providers of complementary and alternative medicine who are sceptical about vaccination and parents and biomedical providers who are in favour of vaccination will be interviewed in detail about their attitudes and beliefs towards vaccination. On the basis of these findings and published studies, a telephone survey will be carried out among 600 parents seen by biomedical providers and 300 parents seen by providers of alternative and complementary medicine. The results will be used to develop an intervention for parents and doctors who are sceptical about vaccination.


A growing number of people have doubts about the safety, efficacy and benefits of vaccination. This scepticism towards vaccination leads to low vaccination coverage in the population, increases the risk of disease outbreaks and puts vulnerable people at risk. Moreover, chronic diseases such as genital warts and cervical cancer cannot optimally be prevented if the appropriate vaccinations are not given. To date there has been little study of the factors that influence parents in their decision to have their child vaccinated.


The aim of the study is to better understand why parents and doctors are sceptical of vaccination. Particular attention will be paid to the perspective of parents who consult providers of complementary and alternative medicine. In addition, the intention is to facilitate a dialogue between providers of complementary and alternative medicine and biomedical providers.

Relevance / Application

The study will assist in gaining a better understanding of the sociocultural factors that influence the individual decision to vaccinate or not. These will then be used as the appropriate background for planning and implementing interventions designed at improving vaccine communication and counseling among physicians, parents, and adolescents in Switzerland.

Original title

Determinants of vaccine hesitancy and under-immunization with childhood and Human Papilloma Virus vaccines in Switzerland

Project leaders


  • Prof. Dr. med. Philip Tarr, Medizinische Universitätsklinik, Kantonsspital Baselland


  • Dr. Christoph Berger, Immunologie, Kinderspital Zürich
  • Dr. Andreas Zeller, Institut für Hausarztmedizin, Universität Basel
  • Prof. Claudine Burton-Jeangros, Département de Sociologie, Faculté des Sciences de la Société, Université de Genève

Project partners:

  • Mirjam Mäusezahl, Abteilung Übertragbare Krankheiten, Direktionsbereich Gesundheitspolitik, Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG)
  • Dr. Constanze Pfeiffer, Department of Public Health, Schweizerisches Tropen- und Public Health-Institut (Swiss TPH), Basel
  • Dr. Thomas Zumbrunn, Clinical Trial Unit, Universitätsspital Basel



Further information on this content


Prof. Dr. med. Philip Tarr Co-Chefarzt Medizinische Universitätsklinik
Leiter Infektiologie und Spitalhygiene
Kantonsspital Baselland
4101 Bruderholz +41 61 436 2212

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