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Parents’ decisions on MMR vaccination for their children were based on personal experience rather than scientific evidence

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Q What are the factors underpinning parents’ perceptions of risk in relation to measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination? What are the determinants of the decision to vaccinate or not?

DESIGN

Qualitative study.

SETTING

5 general practices in the Leeds area, UK.

PARTICIPANTS

69 parents (mean age 34 y, 65 mothers) of children 4–5 years of age. 75% of parents had their children vaccinated (both doses).

METHODS

Parents participated in semistructured individual interviews, which explored their experiences in relation to information and decision support at the second MMR vaccine dose. Interview transcripts were analysed using the framework approach. The authors reviewed subsamples of transcripts to identify key themes for coding. Codes were then defined and validated by discussion among the research team. Overarching themes and deviant cases were identified.

MAIN FINDINGS

3 key themes were identified: decision determinants, practitioner influence, and support needs. (1) Decision determinants. The primary determinant of vaccination decision was a parent’s previous experience of children with autistic disorders or mumps, measles, or rubella, which informed judgments of the acceptability of alternative outcomes, and the …

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