Objective. As part of a larger hepatitis B vaccination program in San Francisco, hepatitis B vaccine is offered to seventh-grade students in selected middle schools. We investigated attitudes and beliefs about hepatitis B, hepatitis B vaccine, and school-based vaccination among parents of eligible students.
Methods. A survey was conducted of random samples of parents who consented, refused, or did not respond to a request for vaccination consent.
Results. A larger proportion of persons who signed a vaccination consent or refusal form were biological parents and were Asian or white than parents who did not return a signed form. The most common reason for refusing vaccination, given by 84% of refusing parents, was that their children had already been vaccinated against hepatitis B. These parents recognized the severity and duration of hepatitis B virus infection as much as parents consenting to vaccination. About one third of parents who refused vaccination did not agree that schools were good places to vaccinate children. Overall, 116 parents (40%) consulted someone before deciding to consent or refuse; 95 (33%) spoke with a health professional. Most parents not returning signed consent or refusal forms reported that they never received forms from their children or that they returned signed forms to their children, who never delivered them to school.
Conclusions. Most parents accepted school-based vaccination, and obtaining parental consent for schoolbased vaccination was possible. Nonetheless, new approaches may be needed for those students and parents who do not comply with the consent process.
- Received October 3, 1995.
- Accepted December 7, 1995.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics