First time parents' decision making regarding childhood immunization: A qualitative descriptive study
The aim of the National Immunisation Strategy is that 95% of children will be fully vaccinated by their second birthday. Statistics indicate that children who receive the first vaccination on time, at six weeks of age, are likely to be fully vaccinated by the due date. However, there appears to be no definitive research regarding how first time parents decide whether their children will be vaccinated at six weeks old. The aim of this small qualitative descriptive pilot study with grounded theory method of data analysis was to describe the decision making process of first time parents regarding vaccination of their six week old baby. Three first time mothers with children aged between, five and seven months of age agreed to take part in this small pilot study and all expressed an initial intention to vaccinate, which they considered to be ‘ doing the right thing” for their child. However findings from this small pilot study suggested that for some participants the eventual decision making process was complex and involved negotiation of various pathways as parents interacted with a variety of health professionals, as well as other sources of information and misinformation, that might help or hinder their decision making process. Findings also highlighted the pervasive influence of health care providers and their need to receive and convey timely and accurate information and support in order to facilitate parental informed choice regarding vaccination of their children.