From the Journals

Decision making regarding vaccines varies among accepters, deniers, partial accepters



Parents who accepted, denied, or partially accepted participation in the Dutch National Immunization Program reached their decisions through different methods, according to Kim A.G.J. Romijnders of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, and associates.

A close-up of medical syringe with a vaccine. MarianVejcik/Getty Images

For the study published in Vaccine, the investigators conducted a series of 12 focus groups: 3 with accepters (n = 19), 3 with deniers (n =12), and 6 with partial accepters (n =24); in the partial accepters groups, there were three groups with parents delaying vaccination and three with parents refusing some vaccinations. Three-quarters of participants were women, the average age was 39 years, and 96% had at least university education. Parents were asked about their knowledge, attitudes, deliberation, and information needs regarding childhood vaccination.

Vaccine accepters regarded the decision to vaccinate their children as self-evident, but deniers and partial accepters reported conducting extensive deliberation on the pros and cons of vaccination. Deniers and partial accepters, in general, perceived fewer risks of vaccine-preventable diseases, more risks of vaccine side effects, less social support from their environment, less trust in child welfare centers, and provided less information than accepters.

The investigators noted that vaccine deniers tended to rely on anecdotal evidence, while the deliberation that partial accepters undertook was both time consuming and difficult. This process alienated them from their child vaccine provider, with trust being lost when the provider either refused or was unable to answer questions. Partial accepters also reported a lack of social support from friends, family, and providers regarding partial vaccine acceptance.

“The findings can facilitate informed decision making among parents by promoting an open dialogue at the [child welfare center], and improving the type and form of information presented. An open dialogue between parents and [child vaccine providers] may increase deliberation among parents, strengthen positive attitudes, prevent misperceptions, and resolve decisional conflict,” the investigators concluded.

The study was supported by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment; the authors reported no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Romijnders KAGJ et al. Vaccine. 2019 Aug 2. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.07.060.

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