How healthcare professionals respond to parents with religious objections to vaccination: A qualitative study

Academic Collaborative Centre AMPHI, Dpt of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Geert Grooteplein 21, 6525, EZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands. .
BMC Health Services Research (Impact Factor: 1.71). 08/2012; 12:231. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-12-231
Source: PubMed


In recent years healthcare professionals have faced increasing concerns about the value of childhood vaccination and many find it difficult to deal with parents who object to vaccination. In general, healthcare professionals are advised to listen respectfully to the objections of parents, provide honest information, and attempt to correct any misperceptions regarding vaccination. Religious objections are one of the possible reasons for refusing vaccination. Although religious objections have a long history, little is known about the way healthcare professionals deal with these specific objections. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the responding of healthcare professionals to parents with religious objections to the vaccination of their children.
A qualitative interview study was conducted with health care professionals (HCPs) in the Netherlands who had ample experience with religious objections to vaccination. Purposeful sampling was applied in order to include HCPs with different professional and religious backgrounds. Data saturation was reached after 22 interviews, with 7 child health clinic doctors, 5 child health clinic nurses and 10 general practitioners. The interviews were thematically analyzed. Two analysts coded, reviewed, discussed, and refined the coding of the transcripts until consensus was reached. Emerging concepts were assessed using the constant comparative method from grounded theory.
Three manners of responding to religious objections to vaccination were identified: providing medical information, discussion of the decision-making process, and adoption of an authoritarian stance. All of the HCPs provided the parents with medical information. In addition, some HCPs discussed the decision-making process. They verified how the decision was made and if possible consequences were realized. Sometimes they also discussed religious considerations. Whether the decision-making process was discussed depended on the willingness of the parents to engage in such a discussion and on the religious background, attitudes, and communication skills of the HCPs. Only in cases of tetanus post-exposure-prophylaxis, general practitioners reported adoption of an authoritarian stance.
Given that the provision of medical information is generally not decisive for parents with religious objections to vaccination, we recommend HCPs to discuss the vaccination decision-making process, rather than to provide them with extra medical information.

Download full-text


Available from: Glyn Elwyn, Oct 01, 2015
21 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For millennia, humans have sought and found purpose, solace, values, understanding, and fellowship in religious practices. Buddhist nuns performed variolation against smallpox over 1000 years ago. Since Jenner developed vaccination against smallpox in 1796, some people have objected to and declined vaccination, citing various religious reasons. This paper reviews the scriptural, canonical basis for such interpretations, as well as passages that support immunization. Populous faith traditions are considered, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Subjects of concern such as blood components, pharmaceutical excipients of porcine or bovine origin, rubella strain RA 27/3, and cell-culture media with remote fetal origins are evaluated against the religious concerns identified.
    Vaccine 02/2013; 31(16). DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.02.026 · 3.62 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Our aim was to assess progress towards measles elimination from The Netherlands by studying humoral measles immunity in the Dutch population. A population-based seroepidemiological study was conducted in 2006-2007 (N = 7900). Serum samples were analysed by a bead-based multiplex immunoassay. IgG levels ⩾0·2 IU/ml were considered protective. The overall seroprevalence in the Dutch population was 96%. However, 51% of socio-geographically clustered orthodox Protestant individuals aged <10 years were susceptible. Infants might be susceptible to measles between ages 4 months and 14 months, the age at which maternal antibodies have disappeared and the first measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination is administered, respectively. Waning of antibody concentrations was slower after the second MMR vaccination than after the first. The Netherlands is at an imminent risk of a measles outbreak in the orthodox Protestant minority. To prevent subsequent transmission to the general population, efforts to protect susceptible age groups are needed.
    Epidemiology and Infection 08/2013; 142(5):1-9. DOI:10.1017/S0950268813001532 · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies of undervaccinated children of minority/stateless populations have highlighted significant barriers at individual, community, and state levels. These include geography-related difficulties, poverty, and social norms/beliefs. The objective of this study was to assess project outcomes regarding immunization coverage, as well as maternal attitudes and practices toward immunization. The "StatelessVac" project was conducted in Thailand-Myanmar-Laos border areas using cell phone-based mechanisms to increase immunization coverage by incorporating phone-to-phone information sharing for both identification and prevention. With limitation of the study among vulnerable populations in low-resource settings, the pre/post assessments without comparison group were conducted. Immunization coverage was collected from routine monthly reports while behavior-change outcomes were from repeat surveys. This study revealed potential benefits of the initiative for case identification; immunization coverage showed an improved trend. Prevention strategies were successfully integrated into the routine health care workflows of immunization activities at point-of-care. A behavior-change-communication package contributes significantly in raising both concern and awareness in relation to child care. The mobile technology has proven to be an effective mechanism in improving a children's immunization program among these hard-to-reach populations. Part of the intervention has now been revised for use at health centers across the country.
    01/2015; 3(1):e4. DOI:10.2196/mhealth.3704