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Parents found it difficult to obtain objective information and advice about the combined mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine

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 QUESTION: What factors influence parents’ decisions about whether to accept the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunisation for their children?

Design

6 focus groups.

Setting

Avon and Gloucestershire, UK.

Participants

48 parents who were 22–48 years of age (mean age 35 y, 90% mothers). Parents had accepted (3 focus groups) or not accepted (3 focus groups) MMR immunisation for their youngest child (14 mo to 3 y of age).

Methods

A moderator facilitated each group and asked open ended questions about child health, attitudes towards immunisation, the decision making process, the effects of the media and other influences on immunisations, and issues that were important to parents. The 1–2 hour discussions were tape recorded and transcribed. The data were analysed using the constant comparative method until theoretical saturation was reached.

Main findings

4 key factors influenced parents’ decisions about MMR immunisation. Beliefs about the risks and benefits of immunisation compared with the risks associated with contracting measles, mumps, or rubella: immunisers tended to stress the benefits of immunisation and the dangers …

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