Information needs during an emerging outbreak of meningococcal W135 disease in the Netherlands: a study among teenagers, their parents and healthcare professionals.
Background: To counter the rise in invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) serogroup W, the Netherlands introduced a menACWY catch-up vaccination campaign for teenagers in 2018 and 2019. Teenagers and parents who have questions or who seek advice from a professional about vaccinations are likely to consult a youth healthcare professional or their general practitioner. This study aimed to appraise the ability of these healthcare professionals to meet the information needs of teenagers and their parents at the start of the vaccination campaign. Methods: With online surveys, we assessed information needs in teenagers (N = 1603) and parents (N = 1784) concerning IMD and the menACWY vaccination, and in healthcare professionals (N = 520) in their communication with teenagers and parents. We additionally studied healthcare professionals' expectations of the information needs of teenagers and parents. Results: We identified several information needs about IMD and the menACWY vaccination in teenagers, parents and healthcare professionals. Some important commonalities in the information needs in these three groups were found, with regard to the topics IMD prevention, vaccine effectiveness and vaccine protection duration. Healthcare professionals' expectations of the information needs of teenagers and parents were quite accurate but some important discrepancies were found. Conclusion: Our results suggest that healthcare professionals might not have been optimally equipped or prepared for questions from teenagers and their parents at the beginning of the vaccination campaign. We recommend public health institutes to timely assess and meet information needs about new vaccines in healthcare professionals to optimally equip them for consultations.