Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU Finds Maternal Attitudes Shape Infant Vaccination Decisions

 Maternal attitudes are the strongest predictor of whether infants will be vaccinated, with mothers who have neutral or negative attitudes about vaccines far more likely to report that their children are unvaccinated, according to a new study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

In the study in the Journal of Pediatrics, the research team analyzed childhood vaccine reports from more than 3,200 mothers of infants two months old to six months old and found that the vast majority of children—more than 86 percent—had received all recommended vaccines, while another nine percent had received some vaccinations.

Compared to mothers with positive attitudes towards vaccines, mothers with “neutral and negative attitudes” had as many as 43 times the odds of reporting that their infants had received no vaccinations.

“In this nationally representative study, maternal attitudes and subjective norms toward vaccination were important predictors of infant non-vaccination, and the risk increased as maternal attitudes toward vaccination became more negative,” the authors said. They said such attitudes were more important than other kinds of barriers to access, such as scheduling or insurance problems.

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