The behind-the-scenes activity of parental decision-making discourse regarding childhood vaccination

American Journal of Infection Control
March 01, 2017 Volume 45, Issue 3, p215-340, e34-e44

Major Articles
The behind-the-scenes activity of parental decision-making discourse regarding childhood vaccination
Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, Nathan Walter, Yaffa Shir-Raz, Oshrat Sassoni Bar-Lev, Shira Rosenblat
Published online: November 14, 2016
Vaccine compliance has long been a cause for concern for health authorities throughout the world. However very little effort has been made to examine parental discourse during the decision-making process.
An online survey was conducted (N = 437) to examine predictors of parents’ attitudes regarding childhood vaccination.
Hesitant parents were 4 times more likely to conduct intrafamily discussion regarding vaccination compared with provaccination parents (Exp[B] = 4.26). There were no significant differences between hesitant and antivaccination parents with respect to intrafamily discussion. Hesitant parents were also 4 times more likely than provaccination parents to report intrafamily disagreements regarding vaccination (Exp[B] = 4.27). They were also twice as likely as antivaccination parents to express disagreements regarding vaccination within their families (Exp[B] = 2.33). Likewise, Jewish parents were significantly more likely to define themselves as vaccination-hesitant, whereas Muslim parents were significantly more likely to be provaccination.
To improve the way health organizations communicate information about vaccines and increase parental trust in immunization programs, we should not only look at the level of understanding, perceptions, and biases of different groups, but also thoroughly examine parents’ decision-making processes and the discourse during this process. We must communicate risk to all groups, including the provaccination group, to improve parents’ decision making and the process of informed consent.