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Margaret Harvey


Declining immunization rates are associated with higher incidents of vaccine-preventable diseases. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological inquiry was to explore the perceptions of vaccine-hesitant parents regarding their healthcare experiences. Ajzen and Fishbein‘s theory of reasoned actions and its key concepts (the intention to perform behaviors, attitudes, subjective norms, and external variables) was used as a framework to understand influences on parents' decisions to vaccinate their children. The research questions for the study examined the healthcare experiences of vaccine-hesitant parents, how these experiences influenced their decisions to vaccinate their children, and how this group perceived the current strategies promoting vaccinations for their children. Ten interviews with parents who delayed or refused immunization for their children with varying ambivalent attitudes towards vaccines were conducted in a large Midwestern city in the United States. Interviews were conducted face-to-face and via phone. Recordings were analyzed using Atlas.ti edition 8 to generate codes, themes, and subthemes. Thematic analysis revealed 4 themes to explain parents’ perceptions of healthcare experiences and the current strategies promoting vaccinations, which included criticism, lack of transparency, diminished treatment, and desire for knowledge. The study findings are beneficial to all entities looking to improve the understanding of vaccine-hesitant parents’ perceptions of healthcare and increase vaccination rates. Social change implications consist of generated strategies to improve vaccination rates for children, education on vaccine-preventable diseases, and increased awareness of the negative consequences of vaccine refusal.

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