Belief About Mandatory School Vaccinations and Vaccination Refusal Among Ohio Appalachian Parents: Do Demographic and Religious Factors, General Health, and Political Affiliation Play a Role?

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Abstract

Purpose

To examine how demographic, general health, religious, and political characteristics influenced beliefs about mandatory school vaccinations and history of vaccination refusal for children among Ohio Appalachian parents.

Methods

In 2013 and 2014, baseline data were obtained from parents (n = 337) of girls aged 9-17 from 12 counties in rural Ohio Appalachia enrolled in the Community Awareness, Resources and Education (CARE II) Project. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify correlates of parental beliefs about mandatory school vaccinations and history of refusing a doctor-recommended vaccine for their child(ren).

Results

About 47% of parents agreed that parents should have the right to refuse mandatory school vaccinations for their child(ren). Participants who reported their political affiliation as Republican (OR = 2.45, 95% CI: 1.28-4.66) or Independent (OR = 3.31, 95% CI: 1.70-6.44) were more likely to agree that parents should have the right to refuse school-mandated vaccinations than parents who reported their political affiliation as Democrat. Approximately 39% of parents reported ever refusing a vaccine for their child(ren). Participants who were female (OR = 3.90, 95% CI: 1.04-14.58) and believed that parents should have the right to refuse mandatory school vaccinations (OR = 3.27, 95% CI: 1.90-5.62) were more likely to report ever refusing a vaccine for their child(ren).

Conclusion

The study findings provide information to better understand factors related to vaccination refusal among parents in Appalachia Ohio that can be used to design interventions to improve vaccination uptake.

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