Objectives: It would appear that mothers are the main organisers for their child's immunisation. What do they know about immunisation? What are their reasons for having their child immunised? What are their experiences of the process and the difficulties they encounter? This study focuses on these questions.
Method: A representative sample (n = 242) of mothers giving birth in southern Tasmania completed two questionnaires post partum, one during the first week and the other at 12 months.
Results: Primigravidae women were less well-informed about immunisation than multigravidae women. Almost all the mothers intended to immunise their babies for their child's welfare. However, at 54 weeks only 21% were fully immunised. General practitioners immunised 74% of the babies. Mothers were primarily responsible for arranging and overseeing the baby's immunisation. Problems included: lack of child care and of accompanying adults; post immunisation reactions (80% of babies); and inadequate information about immunisation reactions. Most mothers supported immunisation reminder systems and written records of immunisation.
Conclusion: The general practitioner, the preferred provider of immunisation, can facilitate the translation of a mother's positive convictions into action important potential strategies include: mother friendly appointment systems; providing more information on immunisation, including possible reactions; general practice based immunisation outreach programs and domiciliary visiting.