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J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Mar-Apr;21(2):104-9. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-21.2.104.

Exploring the Reasons Behind Parental Refusal of Vaccines.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy, Abilene, Texas.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy, Abilene, Texas.


Parental refusal of vaccines is a growing a concern for the increased occurrence of vaccine preventable diseases in children. A number of studies have looked into the reasons that parents refuse, delay, or are hesitant to vaccinate their child(ren). These reasons vary widely between parents, but they can be encompassed in 4 overarching categories. The 4 categories are religious reasons, personal beliefs or philosophical reasons, safety concerns, and a desire for more information from healthcare providers. Parental concerns about vaccines in each category lead to a wide spectrum of decisions varying from parents completely refusing all vaccinations to only delaying vaccinations so that they are more spread out. A large subset of parents admits to having concerns and questions about childhood vaccinations. For this reason, it can be helpful for pharmacists and other healthcare providers to understand the cited reasons for hesitancy so they are better prepared to educate their patients' families. Education is a key player in equipping parents with the necessary information so that they can make responsible immunization decisions for their children.


parental refusal; personal beliefs; religious; safety concerns; vaccine hesitancy

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