Immunizing Children: A Qualitative Analysis of Future Parental Decision Making

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Abstract

Vaccinations are considered one of public health’s greatest accomplishments. Despite evidence for vaccine effectiveness, uptake levels are still well below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. The immunization decision-making process for parents is complex and depends on factors associated with knowledge and experiences. This qualitative study sought to expand on a previous decision-making model for immunizations by examining how individuals receive vaccination information, determining the role of experience in influencing decisions, and understanding how young adults might locate vaccination information in the future. Three focus groups were conducted with 29 undergraduate students without children. Results suggest that young adults exhibit an awareness of information regarding vaccine use and effectiveness, value doctor opinions and recommendations, and desire more robust research on vaccinations. Implications of these results include the importance of (1) disseminating vaccination education to young adults, (2) enhancing consistency/trust between medical professionals and youth, and (3) expanding public policy to increase vaccine uptake.

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