Chinese immigrant parents’ vaccination decision making for children: a qualitative analysis

BMC Public Health
(Accessed 8 February 2014)

Research article  
Chinese immigrant parents’ vaccination decision making for children: a qualitative analysis
Linda DL Wang, Wendy WT Lam, Joseph T Wu, Qiuyan Liao, Richard Fielding BMC Public Health 2014, 14:133 (7 February 2014)
Abstract (provisional)
While immunization coverage rates for childhood routine vaccines in Hong Kong are almost 100%, the uptake rates of optional vaccines remain suboptimal. Understanding parental decision-making for children’s vaccination is important, particularly among minority groups who are most vulnerable and underserved. This study explored how a subsample of new immigrant mothers from mainland China, a rapidly-growing subpopulation in Hong Kong, made decisions on various childhood and adolescent vaccines for their offspring, and identified key influences affecting their decision making.

Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 23 Chinese new immigrant mothers recruited by purposive sampling. All interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analyzed using a Grounded Theory approach.

Participants’ conversation revealed five underlying themes which influenced parents’ vaccination decision-making: (1) Institutional factors, (2) Insufficient vaccination knowledge and advice, (3) Affective impacts on motivation, (4) Vaccination barriers, and (5) Social influences. The role of social norms appeared overwhelmingly salient influencing parents’ vaccination decision making. Institutional factors shaped parent’s perceptions of vaccination necessity. Fear of vaccine-targeted diseases was a key motivating factor for parents adopting vaccination. Insufficient knowledge about vaccines and targeted diseases, lack of advice from health professionals and, if provided, suspicions regarding the motivations for such advice were common issues. Vaccination cost was a major barrier for many new immigrant parents.

Social norms play a key role influencing parental vaccination decision-making. Insight gained from this study will help inform healthcare providers in vaccination communication and policymakers in future vaccination programme.