Categorization of Parental Attitudes Toward Vaccines12,14
Parents agree that vaccines are necessary and safe. Parents have a strong relationship with their health care provider.
Go along to get along
Parents do not question vaccines, would like to vaccinate their children, but may lack a detailed knowledge of vaccines.
Parents may have minor concerns about vaccines but ultimately vaccinate their children.
Parents have significant concerns about vaccines and tend to be knowledgeable about vaccines. Parents may vaccinate their child or may refuse or delay vaccines. Parents may have significant concerns about vaccines and may have a neutral relationship with their health care provider.
Parents refuse all vaccines for their child. Their reasons for refusal may include distrust in the medical system, safety concerns, and religious beliefs.
Parental Concerns About Vaccines
Too many vaccines
Development of autism
Vaccine additives (thimerosal, aluminum)
Overload the immune system
Serious adverse reactions
Potential for long-term adverse events
Inadequate research performed before licensure
May cause pain to the child
May make the child sick
Necessity of vaccines
Disease is more “natural” than vaccine
Parents do not believe diseases being prevented are serious
Vaccine-preventable diseases have disappeared
Not all vaccines are needed
Vaccines do not work
Freedom of choice
Parents have the right to choose whether to immunize their child
Parents know what’s best for their child
Believe that the risks outweigh the benefits of vaccine
Do not trust organized medicine, public health
Do not trust government health authorities
Do not trust pharmaceutical companies
Ethical, moral, or religious reasons
Number of Immunogenic Proteins and Polysaccharides Contained in Vaccines Over the Past 100 Years
Vaccines are safe and effective, and serious disease can occur if your child and family are not immunized.
Vaccine-hesitant individuals are a heterogeneous group, and their individual concerns should be respected and addressed.
Vaccine are tested thoroughly before licensure, and vaccine safety assessment networks exist to monitor vaccine safety after licensure.
Nonmedical vaccine exemptions increase rates of unvaccinated children.
Unvaccinated children put vaccinated children and medically exempt children who live in that same area at risk.
Pediatricians and other health care providers play a major role in educating parents about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Strong provider commitment to vaccination can influence hesitant or resistant parents.
Personalizing vaccine acceptance is often an effective approach.
The majority of parents accepted the provider’s vaccine recommendations when they were presented as required immunizations to maintain optimal disease prevention.
The current vaccine schedule is the only one recommended by the CDC and the AAP. Alternative schedules have not been evaluated.
Children whose parents refused vitamin K at birth are 14.6 times more likely to be unimmunized by age 15 mo. This provides an opportunity to identify a subset of likely vaccine-hesitant parents at birth and engage them with targeted information.