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Perceptions of dengue risk and acceptability of a dengue vaccine in residents of Puerto Rico.

Dengvaxia is the first dengue vaccine recommended in the United States (U.S.). It is recommended for children aged 9-16 y with laboratory-confirmed previous dengue infection and living in areas where dengue is endemic. We conducted focus groups with parents and in-depth interviews with key informants (i.e. practicing pediatricians, physicians from immunization clinics, university researchers, and school officials) in Puerto Rico (P.R.) to examine acceptability, barriers, and motivators to vaccinate with Dengvaxia. We also carried out informal meetings and semi-structured interviews to evaluate key messages and educational materials with pediatricians and parents. Barriers to vaccination included lack of information, distrust toward new vaccines, vaccine side effects and risks, and high cost of/lack of insurance coverage for laboratory tests and vaccines. Motivators included clear information about the vaccine, a desire to prevent future dengue infections, the experience of a previous dengue infection or awareness of dengue fatality, vaccine and laboratory tests covered by health insurance, availability of rapid test results and vaccine appointments. School officials and parents agreed parents would pay a deductible of $5-20 for Dengvaxia. For vaccine information dissemination, parents preferred an educational campaign through traditional media and social media, and one-on-one counseling of parents by healthcare providers. Education about this vaccine to healthcare providers will help them answer parents' questions. Dengvaxia acceptability in P.R. will increase by addressing motivators and barriers to vaccination and by disseminating vaccine information in plain language through spokespersons from health institutions in P.R.

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