Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Nevius

Abstract

Background: Following the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s article claiming a link between Autism and the MMR vaccine in 1998, the U.K. and U.S. experienced a decline in vaccination rates. Combating the anti-vaccine messages highlighted by the media are the medical providers, who are consistently reported as an influential source of information for parental vaccine decision making. Despite efforts of the medical and public health community, some developed countries have seen a resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases. Purpose: This study seeks to examine parental vaccination concern in a private pediatric practice in metropolitan Atlanta. Methods: A questionnaire was created by the PI to assess parental vaccination concerns, including items to assess parental feelings toward the providers and nurses regarding preventative care. Data was analyzed in SPSS version 19.0. The study was approved by the IRB at Georgia State University. Results: A total of 283 participant responses were included in the sample. Overall vaccine adherence was 96.1% (272). However, a large minority of participants who were considered to have vaccine concerns were identified: 40.3% (114) of participants responded yes to at least one vaccine hesitation item. Conclusion: Vaccine adherence in a private pediatric practice remains high. However some parents continue to have vaccination concerns and may be at risk for deviating from the vaccine schedule. Using qualitative methods to obtain parental beliefs may provide a deeper understanding of parental decisions to aid in the development of public health education programs. The feasibility of collecting data at a private pediatric practice is discussed.

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