Date of Conferral





Health Services


Cynthia Newell


Childhood immunization has been one of the most important public health measures in the 20th century. In the United States, 95% of avoidable childhood diseases have been prevented through vaccinations. However, there have been growing concerns around the safety of vaccines, and this increased uncertainty has led to decreases in vaccination participation and increases in cases of preventable diseases. As such, is it important to understand why parents are not vaccinating their children. A qualitative approach was utilized to conduct this study. Flyers to recruit participants were distributed by healthcare providers and were posted in church facilities. Ten parents of children ages 3 to 8 years volunteered to participate to discuss their refusal to or delay in vaccinating their children. The health belief model functioned as the theoretical context to guide this phenomenological study approach in examining the reasons parents are not vaccinating or delaying vaccination of their children. Analysis included constructing a written description of the phenomenon as experienced by the research participants using their responses to the research question, followed by developing response coding schemes, identifying themes, justifying findings, and ensuring sound analysis and reporting of information. For example, word frequency and common phrases were the first steps of the analysis. Results showed that parents had a negative reaction towards childhood vaccination and felt that either the vaccine schedule was too aggressive or contained dangerous toxins that may have side effects. These findings can be used to assist healthcare providers in the way they provide outreach and education to parents as well as potentially helping develop tools that would encourage parents to vaccinate their children.