Vaccine knowledge of the general population is shaped by different information sources and strongly influences vaccination attitudes and uptake. The CCM-Italian Ministry of Health ESCULAPIO project attempted to identify the role of such information sources, in order to address adequate strategies to improve information on vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases. In the present study, data on 632 adults from Southern Italy regarding information sources were collected, and their perceived and actual knowledge on vaccinations were compared and analyzed in relation to socio-demographic characteristics and information sources. The main reported reference sources were general practitioners (GPs) (42.5%) and pediatricians (33.1%), followed by mass media (24.1%) and the Internet (17.6%). A total of 45.4% reported they believed to be informed (45.4%), while those estimated to be truly informed were 43.8%. However, as showed in the multivariate logistic regression, people having the perception to be correctly informed ascribed their good knowledge to their profession in the health sector (Adj OR 2.28, CI 1.09–4.77, p < 0.05) and to friends/relatives/colleagues (AdjOR 6.25, CI 2.38–16.44, p < 0.001), while the non-informed population thought the responsibility had to be attributed to mass media (AdjOR 0.45, CI 0.22–0.92, p < 0.05). Those showing the real correct information, instead, were younger (AdjOR 1.64, CI 1.04–2.59, p < 0.05), and their main reference sources were pediatricians (AdjOR 1.63, CI 1.11–2.39, p < 0.05) and scientific magazines (Adj OR 3.39, CI 1.51–7.59, p < 0.01). Only 6% knew the “VaccinarSì” portal, developed to counter the widespred antivaccine websites in Italy. The post-survey significant increase of connections to “VaccinarSi” could be ascribed to the counselling performed during questionnaire administration. Strategies to improve information about vaccination should be addressed to fortifying healthcare workers knowledge in order to make them public health opinion leaders. General population should be provided with correct indications on trustworthy websites on vaccines to contrast false information supplied by anti-vaccinists on their own websites or social networks pages and on the mass media.
- Immunology and Allergy