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Matern Child Health J. 2008 Nov;12(6):766-73. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Postpartum mothers' attitudes, knowledge, and trust regarding vaccination.

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Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School, and Children's Hospital, 133 Brookline Avenue, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02215-5301, USA.



To examine attitudes and knowledge about vaccinations in postpartum mothers.


This cross-sectional study collected data via written survey to postpartum mothers in a large teaching hospital in Connecticut. We used multivariable analysis to identify mothers who were less trusting with regard to vaccines.


Of 228 mothers who participated in the study, 29% of mothers worried about vaccinating their infants: 23% were worried the vaccines would not work, 11% were worried the doctor would give the wrong vaccine, and 8% worried that "they" are experimenting when they give vaccines. Mothers reported that the most important reasons to vaccinate were to prevent disease in the baby (74%) and in society (11%). Knowledge about vaccination was poor; e.g., 33% correctly matched chicken pox with varicella vaccine. Mothers who were planning to breastfeed (P=.01), were primiparous (P=.01), or had an income<$40,000 but did not receive support from the women, infants, and children (WIC) program were less trusting with regard to vaccines (P=.03). Although 70% wanted information about vaccines during pregnancy, only 18% reported receiving such information during prenatal care.


Although the majority of infants receive vaccines, their mothers have concerns and would like to receive immunization information earlier. Mothers who are primiparous, have low family incomes but do not qualify for the WIC program, or are breastfeeding may need special attention to develop a trusting relationship around vaccination. Mothers would benefit from additional knowledge regarding the risks and benefits of vaccines particularly during prenatal care.

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