• immunization safety;
  • immunizations;
  • parental hesitancy

ABSTRACT Objectives: To determine why parents in a Utah community hesitated in immunizing their children.

Design and Sample: Cross-sectional descriptive study. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 86 parents of under-immunized children in the county health department and local pediatric and family practice offices.

Measures: Participants were asked to complete an immunization hesitancy survey including questions regarding why parents hesitated to immunize their children, parental concerns regarding immunizations, and what advice they would give to a friend or family member who had concerns about childhood vaccines. Parents could also write in any other comment, concern, or suggestion they had regarding childhood immunizations.

Results: 2 major themes were identified: concerns regarding immunization safety and lack of perceived need. The most commonly reported concerns regarding immunization safety included autism, immune system overload, and other adverse reactions. Many parents did not recognize the need for childhood immunizations, especially multiple immunizations given simultaneously on a strict timeline.

Conclusions: The manner in which immunization information is shared with hesitant parents can be particularly important. There is a need for health care providers to assess and increase parental knowledge regarding immunizations.