The impact of the parent-physician relationship on parental vaccine safety perceptions

Curr Drug Saf. 2015;10(1):16-22. doi: 10.2174/157488631001150407104320.


In times of declining immunization rates among children in many countries and an increasing threat of potentially vaccine-preventable diseases, there is a strong need for new strategies to improve trust in vaccinations and acceptance of recommendations, especially in parents of infants and children. A survey to evaluate vaccination acceptance has been conducted in Vienna, Austria, based on a US CDC survey, applying a cross-sectional approach with districts and public as well as private kindergartens and preschools as selection base. The survey aimed to investigate the impact of parent satisfaction with, and overall trust in the physician on vaccine acceptance, as well as the impact of quality and completeness of safety information delivered during the vaccination consultation. Overall 1101 parents, predominantly (84.2%) mothers, participated in the survey. The majority (82.7%) of participants had a generally positive view concerning childhood vaccination. However, 25.1% refused at least one of the recommended vaccinations. In multivariate analysis, confidence in vaccinations was significantly influenced by education (lower confidence at higher levels of education), gender (higher confidence in females), and positively associated with trust in physician, smooth vaccination procedure, and information about vaccine risks. Similar results were obtained for compliance with recommended vaccinations with information about vaccine benefits being the most important predictor. This large survey indicates an important role of the physician in communicating balanced information about benefits and risks associated with childhood vaccinations. A trustworthy parent-physician relationship is crucial for vaccination decisions of parents.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Communication*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Safety
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust
  • Vaccination* / adverse effects
  • Vaccination* / psychology
  • Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Vaccines