Childhood Immunizations: First-Time Expectant Mothers' Knowledge, Beliefs, Intentions, and Behaviors

Am J Prev Med. 2015 Dec;49(6 Suppl 4):S426-34. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Aug 18.


Introduction: This study focused on how first-time mothers decide or intend to decide with respect to the recommended childhood immunization schedule.

Methods: This was the baseline survey of a larger longitudinal survey. Data were collected between June and September 2014 from 200 first-time mothers in their second trimester of pregnancy to examine vaccine-related knowledge, perceptions, intentions, and information-seeking behavior.

Results: Data were analyzed between January and June 2015. Seventy-five percent planned to have their child receive all the vaccinations consistent with the recommended childhood immunization schedule. Although participants expressed interest in childhood vaccine information, most had not received information directly from a primary care provider. One third reported receiving such information from their obstetrician/gynecologist but only about half of those were "very satisfied" with the information they received. About 70% indicated they were not familiar with the recommended vaccination schedule and number of routinely recommended vaccines. Familiarity with common vaccine education messages varied widely. Women who indicated they were planning to delay one or more recommended vaccinations were most likely to rely on Internet searches for childhood vaccine information.

Conclusions: Overall, respondents had relatively positive beliefs and perceptions regarding childhood vaccines, which were associated with intentions to get their newborn vaccinated as recommended. However, most who were planning to delay recommended vaccinations or were undecided relied primarily on socially available sources of vaccine information, rather than information provided by a healthcare professional. Improved access to vaccine information from healthcare professionals could foster better vaccine-related knowledge and favorably impact vaccination decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Health Information
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Intention*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Perception*
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Young Adult