Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Control of communicable diseases by vaccination: Who are skeptics and opponents of vaccination and how to communicate with them?

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
7.00.00  Interdisciplinary research     

Code Science Field
B007  Biomedical sciences  Medicine (human and vertebrates) 

Code Science Field
3.03  Medical and Health Sciences  Health sciences 
communicable diseases, vaccine, immunisation, communication, vaccination refusal, situational theory of publics
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  30965  Nuška Čakš Jager  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2014 - 2017  103 
2.  38038  Romana Čepon    Technical associate  2016 - 2017 
3.  37740  Mario Fafangel  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2015 - 2017  117 
4.  37694  MSc Maja Jančič  Economics  Researcher  2015 - 2017  91 
5.  34396  Irena Jeraj  Public health (occupational safety)  Technical associate  2014 - 2017  72 
6.  03194  PhD Alenka Kraigher  Public health (occupational safety)  Head  2014 - 2017  1,251 
7.  11482  PhD Samo Kropivnik  Political science  Researcher  2014 - 2017  287 
8.  21436  MSc Mojca Omerzu  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2014 - 2017  44 
9.  22612  Vesna Pucelj  Public health (occupational safety)  Technical associate  2014 - 2017  159 
10.  29301  Zoran Simonović  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2014 - 2017  190 
11.  30503  PhD Veronika Učakar  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2014 - 2017  337 
12.  14685  PhD Dejan Verčič  Political science  Researcher  2014 - 2017  703 
13.  36535  PhD Mitja Vrdelja  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2014 - 2017  159 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,131 
2.  3333  National Institut of Public Health  Ljubljana  6462642  18,292 
Slovenia has a high proportion of people vaccinated against certain diseases and, therefore, many of those communicable diseases are unlikely to occur. We are aware that decrease in vaccination coverage results in epidemics such as measles epidemics that are currently going on in some European countries. Vaccination has a direct impact on reducing incidence of communicable diseases and their spread. Modern information technology provides an unprecedented environment for wide dissemination of information and disinformation on vaccination, which can have a remarkable impact on relations in society. It is resulting in the decreased proportion of vaccinated people, followed by wider disease spreading or even re-emerging already forgotten diseases.  In Slovenia, we do not know enough about population’s beliefs and attitudes towards protection against communicable diseases by vaccination and where to target activities to maintain a high rate of vaccinated people. Several similar researches have been made abroad, whereas they cannot be applied to the Slovenian case due to cultural, socio-financial and historical reasons. This research will be the first such research in the Slovenian context, identifying relevant public attitudes towards communicable diseases protection by immunisation, key information channels and will enlighten us with the general status of public knowledge, practice and position on the topic, to enable sustainable long term activities for protection of the population against communicable diseases by vaccination. The research will combine results in the field of preventive medicine with theories and methods of applied communication science research. With the use of situational theory of publics, explaining the different levels of communication activities of the population, we will examine the knowledge of the problems, obstacles and issues involved in communicable diseases and vaccination in general population and among specific groups (doctors and other health care workers, journalists, policy makers). We will include qualitative and quantitative research methods that include focused (semi structured) interviews and focus groups, content analysis (traditional and online media publications), surveys of selected groups (health care workers, parents) and (online) network analyses. The study will give original empirical data as a basis for decision making in Slovenia. The findings will be original also in the international research framework. This will be the first application of the situational theory of publics (originally developed in the field of communication science more than thirty years ago and has been applied to study many social and environmental problems) to study the problem of prevention of communicable diseases and problems of vaccination – which makes the project original also from theoretical and methodological points of view. Results of interdisciplinary project will enable us to obtain a basic picture on the current situation in Slovenia in the problematic field and give us valuable information on various relevant publics and networks in relation to vaccination. Results will provide a starting point for further, more detailed, research among key groups, opinion makers, decision makers, opponents, and advocacy groups, also serving as a basis for long term monitoring in this area and enabling development of strategic plans for management of communicable diseases through vaccination and implementation of tailored actions to maintain a high proportion of vaccinated target groups. Research findings could also be useful for the development of public health policies and legislation amendments in the field of communicable diseases and vaccination.
Significance for science
Within the framework of empirical typology based on the situational theory of the public, we answered the main research question on the attitudes of mothers towards vaccination and pointed out the actual and potentially unfavourable aspects of this attitude for satisfactory immunization coverage. We have identified two new key indicators of the attitude towards vaccination (one refers to vaccine mistrust and consequently refusal of children vaccination according to the program, and the second to vaccine confidence and consequently voluntary vaccination of children), which proved to be valid and suitable for use in further research. A theoretically justified empiric research brought the basis for decision making in Slovenia and is also pioneer in the international research environment by applying the situational theory of publics to this public health issue, therefore the research has both an applicative and scientific value.
Significance for the country
The research project that evaluated and quantified attitudes towards vaccination and the effects of hesitation and rejection of vaccination in general, can contribute to the development of evidence-based communication strategy has direct influence on all stakeholders involved in vaccination programs - from public health institutions to private physicians and other health institutions on the primary, secondary and tertiary level. The project also has potential influence on the Slovenian pharmaceutical industry. Project can also have direct influence on groups working in public health, on preventive medicine and other public health promotion campaigns. The project has a significant impact on health care and prevention and consequentially, contribute to better education (health, medicine, legal and social sciences) to improve public health programs. Research results could also be valuable for other public (health) issues in terms of better understanding of public perception, assessing appropriate measures and shifting possible negative perception into positive.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report
Views history