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Mothers’ decisions about MMR vaccination were framed by their children’s vulnerabilities and wider social trends

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 Q How do mothers think and decide about measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination for their infants?

DESIGN

Ethnography.

SETTING

2 areas in Brighton and Hove, UK.

PARTICIPANTS

23 mothers who had children <3 years of age and attended any of 5 different parent-toddler groups; 8 general practitioners (GPs) and 3 practice nurses; and 6 health visitors.

METHODS

Short informal group discussions and participant observation included 4–7 mothers attending 3 of the parent-toddler groups on a given day. 48 conversations were recorded, and 23 were developed into indepth narrative interviews lasting 1–2 hours. Interviews were transcribed and then summarised into 23 parent profiles with associated key themes and vaccination biographies. Themes were expanded and grouped in a working paper that was modified in consultation with a stakeholder advisory panel. GPs, nurses, and health visitors were interviewed together; 3 health visitors were also work-shadowed.

MAIN FINDINGS

Mothers’ narratives about MMR vaccination addressed personal histories, birth events, becoming a mother with other mothers, engaging with health professionals and government, understandings of vaccination and contraindications, and confidence in decision. (1) Personal histories. Mothers’ diverse experiences, knowledge, ways of validating and engaging with information, …

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