Common perceptions of parents requesting personal exemption from vaccination

J Sch Nurs. 2013 Apr;29(2):95-103. doi: 10.1177/1059840512455365. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


School nurses, as vaccination advocates, need to be aware of parents' common concerns regarding vaccines, so the nurse can develop strategies to communicate with parents. The purpose of this cross-sectional, descriptive study was to identify common reasons parents in Utah seek exempting rather than vaccinating their children. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 801 parents responding to a 16-item questionnaire about why they exempted their children from receiving vaccinations. The most commonly reported reason for seeking a personal exemption included vaccines conflicting with philosophical beliefs. Parents exempting from one vaccine most commonly exempted the hepatitis series. Most parents communicated their vaccine concerns with their health care provider prior to seeking exemption. The majority of exempting parents did not use the Internet when researching vaccines even though they had Internet access. Considering the common vaccine-related perceptions of parents may be helpful when developing strategies to overcome these barriers to vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Mass Vaccination / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • School Nursing / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Utah