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1.  A Population-Based Evaluation of a Publicly Funded, School-Based HPV Vaccine Program in British Columbia, Canada: Parental Factors Associated with HPV Vaccine Receipt 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000270.
Analysis of a telephone survey by Gina Ogilvie and colleagues identifies the parental factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a school-based program in Canada.
Background
Information on factors that influence parental decisions for actual human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine receipt in publicly funded, school-based HPV vaccine programs for girls is limited. We report on the level of uptake of the first dose of the HPV vaccine, and determine parental factors associated with receipt of the HPV vaccine, in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods and Findings
All parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the academic year of September 2008–June 2009 in the province of British Columbia were eligible to participate. Eligible households identified through the provincial public health information system were randomly selected and those who consented completed a validated survey exploring factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to calculate adjusted odds ratios to identify the factors that were associated with parents' decision to vaccinate their daughter(s) against HPV. 2,025 parents agreed to complete the survey, and 65.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 63.1–67.1) of parents in the survey reported that their daughters received the first dose of the HPV vaccine. In the same school-based vaccine program, 88.4% (95% CI 87.1–89.7) consented to the hepatitis B vaccine, and 86.5% (95% CI 85.1–87.9) consented to the meningococcal C vaccine. The main reasons for having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were the effectiveness of the vaccine (47.9%), advice from a physician (8.7%), and concerns about daughter's health (8.4%). The main reasons for not having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were concerns about HPV vaccine safety (29.2%), preference to wait until the daughter is older (15.6%), and not enough information to make an informed decision (12.6%). In multivariate analysis, overall attitudes to vaccines, the impact of the HPV vaccine on sexual practices, and childhood vaccine history were predictive of parents having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program. By contrast, having a family with two parents, having three or more children, and having more education was associated with a decreased likelihood of having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine.
Conclusions
This study is, to our knowledge, one of the first population-based assessments of factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a publicly funded school-based program worldwide. Policy makers need to consider that even with the removal of financial and health care barriers, parents, who are key decision makers in the uptake of this vaccine, are still hesitant to have their daughters receive the HPV vaccine, and strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake need to be employed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 10% of cancers in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, globally, more than a quarter of a million women die because of cervical cancer, which only occurs after the cervix has been infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. There are many types of HPV, a virus that infects the skin and the mucosa (the moist membranes that line various parts of the body, including the cervix). Although most people become infected with HPV at some time in their life, most never know they are infected. However, some HPV types cause harmless warts on the skin or around the genital area and several—in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, so-called high-risk HPVs—can cause cervical cancer. HPV infections are usually cleared by the immune system, but about 10% of women infected with a high-risk HPV develop a long-term infection that puts them at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening programs have greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in developed countries in recent decades by detecting the cancer early when it can be treated; but it would be better to prevent cervical cancer ever developing. Because HPV is necessary for the development of cervical cancer, vaccination of girls against HPV infection before the onset of sexual activity might be one way to do this. Scientists recently developed a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV 16 and HPV 18 (and with two HPVs that cause genital warts) and that should, therefore, reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Publicly funded HPV vaccination programs are now planned or underway in several countries; but before girls can receive the HPV vaccine, parental consent is usually needed, so it is important to know what influences parental decisions about HPV vaccination. In this study, the researchers undertake a telephone survey to determine the uptake of the HPV vaccine by 11-year-old girls (grade 6) in British Columbia, Canada, and to determine the parental factors associated with vaccine uptake; British Columbia started a voluntary school-based HPV vaccine program in September 2008.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In early 2009, the researchers contacted randomly selected parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the 2008–2009 academic year and asked them to complete a telephone survey that explored factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. 65.1% of the 2,025 parents who completed the survey had consented to their daughter receiving the first dose of HPV vaccine. By contrast, more than 85% of the parents had consented to hepatitis B and meningitis C vaccination of their daughters. Nearly half of the parents surveyed said their main reason for consenting to HPV vaccination was the effectiveness of the vaccine. Conversely, nearly a third of the parents said concern about the vaccine's safety was their main reason for not consenting to vaccination and one in eight said they had been given insufficient information to make an informed decision. In a statistical analysis of the survey data, the researchers found that a positive parental attitude towards vaccination, a parental belief that HPV vaccination had limited impact on sexual practices, and completed childhood vaccination increased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the HPV vaccine. Having a family with two parents or three or more children and having well-educated parents decreased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the vaccine.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide one of the first population-based assessments of the factors that affect HPV vaccine uptake in a setting where there are no financial or health care barriers to vaccination. By identifying the factors associated with parental reluctance to agree to HPV vaccination for their daughters, these findings should help public-health officials design strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake, although further studies are needed to discover why, for example, parents with more education are less likely to agree to vaccination than parents with less education. Importantly, the findings of this study, which are likely to be generalizable to other high-income countries, indicate that there is a continued need to ensure that the public receives credible, clear information about both the benefits and long-term safety of HPV vaccination.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000270.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on HPV vaccines (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about HPV
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer and on HPV vaccination
More information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
ImmunizeBC provides general information about vaccination and information about HPV vaccination in British Columbia
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000270
PMCID: PMC2864299  PMID: 20454567
2.  Measuring the Performance of Vaccination Programs Using Cross-Sectional Surveys: A Likelihood Framework and Retrospective Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001110.
Justin Lessler and colleagues describe a method that estimates the fraction of a population accessible to vaccination activities, and they apply it to measles vaccination in three African countries: Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone.
Background
The performance of routine and supplemental immunization activities is usually measured by the administrative method: dividing the number of doses distributed by the size of the target population. This method leads to coverage estimates that are sometimes impossible (e.g., vaccination of 102% of the target population), and are generally inconsistent with the proportion found to be vaccinated in Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). We describe a method that estimates the fraction of the population accessible to vaccination activities, as well as within-campaign inefficiencies, thus providing a consistent estimate of vaccination coverage.
Methods and Findings
We developed a likelihood framework for estimating the effective coverage of vaccination programs using cross-sectional surveys of vaccine coverage combined with administrative data. We applied our method to measles vaccination in three African countries: Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, using data from each country's most recent DHS survey and administrative coverage data reported to the World Health Organization. We estimate that 93% (95% CI: 91, 94) of the population in Ghana was ever covered by any measles vaccination activity, 77% (95% CI: 78, 81) in Madagascar, and 69% (95% CI: 67, 70) in Sierra Leone. “Within-activity” inefficiencies were estimated to be low in Ghana, and higher in Sierra Leone and Madagascar. Our model successfully fits age-specific vaccination coverage levels seen in DHS data, which differ markedly from those predicted by naïve extrapolation from country-reported and World Health Organization–adjusted vaccination coverage.
Conclusions
Combining administrative data with survey data substantially improves estimates of vaccination coverage. Estimates of the inefficiency of past vaccination activities and the proportion not covered by any activity allow us to more accurately predict the results of future activities and provide insight into the ways in which vaccination programs are failing to meet their goals.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Immunization (vaccination) is a proven, cost-effective tool for controlling life-threatening infectious diseases. It provides protection against infectious diseases by priming the human immune system to respond quickly and efficiently to bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms (pathogens). Whenever the human body is exposed to a pathogen, the immune system—a network of cells, tissues, and organs—mounts an attack against the foreign invader. Importantly, the immune system “learns” from the encounter, and the next time the body is exposed to the same pathogen, the immune system responds much faster to the threat. Immunization exposes the body to a very small amount of a pathogen, thereby safely providing protection against subsequent infection. More than two billion deaths are averted every year through routine childhood immunization and supplemental immunization activities (mass vaccination campaigns designed to increase vaccination coverage where immunization goals have not been reached by routine vaccination). Indeed, these two types of vaccination activities have eliminated smallpox from the world and are close to doing the same for several other infectious diseases.
Why Was This Study Done?
To reduce deaths from infectious diseases even further, it is important to know the proportion of the population reached by vaccination activities. At present, countries report vaccination coverage to the World Health Organization (WHO) that is calculated by dividing the number of vaccine doses delivered during the activity by the size of the target population. However, estimates arrived at through this “administrative method” do not account for vaccine doses that were not actually delivered, and can only reflect a single vaccination activity, which prevents us from identifying populations that may be systematically missed by all vaccination activities (for example, children living in remote areas, or children whose parents refuse vaccination). Moreover, estimates of coverage obtained by the administrative method rarely agree with estimates obtained through cross-sectional surveys such as Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), which are household surveys of family circumstances and health undertaken at a single time point. In this study, the researchers developed a method for measuring the performance of vaccination activities that estimates the fraction of the population accessible to these activities and within-activity inefficiencies. They then tested their method by applying it to measles vaccination in three African countries; before 1980, measles killed about 2.6 million children worldwide every year, but vaccination activities have reduced this death toll to about 164,000 per year.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a set of formulae (a “likelihood framework”) to estimate the effective coverage of vaccination activities using data on vaccine coverage from cross-sectional surveys and administrative data. They then applied their method to measles vaccination in Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone using data obtained in each country's most recent DHS survey and administrative data reported to WHO. The researchers estimate that 93%, 77%, and 65% of the target populations in Ghana, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, respectively, were ever covered by any vaccination activity, and that inefficiencies within vaccination activities were low for Ghana, but higher for Madagascar and Sierra Leone. Consequently, the researchers' estimates of vaccination activity coverage were substantially lower than the administrative estimates for Madagascar and Sierra Leone but only slightly lower than that for Ghana. Finally, the researchers' estimates of routine vaccination coverage were generally lower than WHO-adjusted estimates but broadly agreed with age-specific vaccination coverage levels from DHS surveys.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the accuracy of the estimates provided by this likelihood framework depends on the assumptions included in the framework and the quality of the data fed into it, these findings show that, by combining administrative data with survey data, estimates of vaccine coverage can be substantially improved. By providing estimates of both the inefficiency of past vaccination activities and the proportion of the target population inaccessible to any vaccination activity, this method should help public health experts predict the results of future activities and help them understand why some vaccination programs fail to meet their goals. Importantly, knowing both the size of the inaccessible population and the inefficiency level of past programs makes it possible to estimate the effect of providing additional doses of vaccine on vaccination coverage. Finally, the application of this new method might help individual countries understand how susceptibility to specific infectious diseases is building up in their population and enable them to avoid outbreaks similar to the measles outbreaks that have recently occurred in several African countries.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001080.
WHO provides information about immunization and details of its Expanded Program on Immunization and its Global Immunization Vision and Strategy; WHO Africa provides details about measles immunization in Africa; a photo story about mass measles vaccination in Côte d’Ivoire is available (some material in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for members of the public about immunization
The Measles Initiative is a collaborative effort that aims to reduce global measles mortality through mass vaccination campaigns and by strengthening routine immunization; its website includes information on measles and measles vaccination, including photos and videos of vaccination activities
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about immunization and about measles (in English and Spanish)
The charity website Healthtalkonline has interviews with UK parents about their experience of immunizing their children
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001110
PMCID: PMC3201935  PMID: 22039353
3.  A semi-qualitative study of attitudes to vaccinating adolescents against human papillomavirus without parental consent 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:20.
Background
The first vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer has been licensed, and in future, vaccination may be routinely offered to 10–14 year old girls. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus and some parents may refuse consent for vaccination. Under-16s in the UK have a right to confidential sexual health care without parental consent. We investigated parents' views on making available HPV vaccination to adolescent minors at sexual health clinics without parental consent.
Methods
This was a semi-qualitative analysis of views of parents of 11–12 year old school children collected as part of a population-based survey of parental attitudes to HPV vaccination in Manchester. Parents were firstly asked if they agreed that a well-informed child should be able to request vaccination at a sexual health clinic without parental consent, and secondly, to provide a reason for this answer. Ethical perspectives on adolescent autonomy provided the framework for descriptive analysis.
Results
307 parents answered the question, and of these, 244 (80%) explained their views. Parents with views consistent with support for adolescent autonomy (n = 99) wanted to encourage responsible behaviour, protect children from ill-informed or bigoted parents, and respected confidentiality and individual rights. In contrast, 97 parents insisted on being involved in decision-making. They emphasised adult responsibility for a child's health and guidance, erosion of parental rights, and respect for cultural and moral values. Other parents (n = 48) wanted clearer legal definitions governing parental rights and responsibilities or hoped for joint decision-making. Parents resistant to adolescent autonomy would be less likely to consent to future HPV vaccination, (67%) than parents supporting this principle (89%; p < 0.001).
Conclusion
In the UK, the principle of adolescent autonomy is recognised and logically should include the right to HPV vaccination, but this may concern parents who would otherwise approve vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-20
PMCID: PMC1804267  PMID: 17291343
4.  A qualitative study to assess school nurses' views on vaccinating 12–13 year old school girls against human papillomavirus without parental consent 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:254.
Background
In the UK, parental consent for the routine vaccination of 12–13 year olds schoolgirls against human papillomavirus (HPV) is recommended, although legally girls may be able to consent themselves. As part of a vaccine study conducted ahead of the National HPV Vaccine Programme we sought the views of school nurses on vaccinating girls who did not have parental consent.
Methods
HPV vaccination was offered to all 12 year old girls attending schools in two Primary Care Trusts in Greater Manchester. At the end of the study semi-structured, tape-recorded interviews were conducted with school nurses who had delivered the vaccine (Cervarix™). The interview template was based on concepts derived from the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Transcripts were analysed thematically in order to understand school nurses' intentions to implement vaccination based on an assessment of Gillick competency.
Results
School nurses knew how to assess the competency of under-16s but were still unwilling to vaccinate if parents had refused permission. If parents had not returned the consent form, school nurses were willing to contact parents, and also to negotiate with parents who had refused consent. They seemed unaware that parental involvement required the child's consent to avoid breaking confidentiality. Nurses' attitudes were influenced by the young appearance and age of the school year group rather than an individual's level of maturity. They were also confused about the legal guidelines governing consent. School nurses acknowledged the child's right to vaccination and strongly supported prevention of HPV infection but ultimately believed that it was the parents' right to give consent. Most were themselves parents and shared other parents' concerns about the vaccine's novelty and unknown long-term side effects. Rather than vaccinate without parental consent, school nurses would defer vaccination.
Conclusion
Health providers have a duty of care to girls for whom no parental consent for HPV vaccination has been given, and in the UK, this includes conducting, and acting upon, an assessment of the maturity and competence of an adolescent minor. To facilitate this, policies, training and support structures for health providers should be implemented.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-254
PMCID: PMC2718887  PMID: 19622145
5.  Healthcare workers as parents: attitudes toward vaccinating their children against pandemic influenza A/H1N1 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:596.
Background
Both the health care workers (HCWs) and children are target groups for pandemic influenza vaccination. The coverage of the target populations is an important determinant for impact of mass vaccination. The objective of this study is to determine the attitudes of HCWs as parents, toward vaccinating their children with pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine.
Methods
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted with health care workers (HCWs) in a public hospital during December 2009 in Istanbul. All persons employed in the hospital with or without a health-care occupation are accepted as HCW. The HCWs who are parents of children 6 months to 18 years of age were included in the study. Pearson's chi-square test and logistic regression analysis was applied for the statistical analyses.
Results
A total of 389 HCWs who were parents of children aged 6 months-18 years participated study. Among all participants 27.0% (n = 105) reported that themselves had been vaccinated against pandemic influenza A/H1N1. Two third (66.1%) of the parents answered that they will not vaccinate their children, 21.1% already vaccinated and 12.9% were still undecided. Concern about side effect was most reported reason among who had been not vaccinated their children and among undecided parents. The second reason for refusing the pandemic vaccine was concerns efficacy of the vaccine. Media was the only source of information about pandemic influenza in nearly one third of HCWs. Agreement with vaccine safety, self receipt of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine, and trust in Ministry of Health were found to be associated with the positive attitude toward vaccinating their children against pandemic influenza A/H1N1.
Conclusions
Persuading parents to accept a new vaccine seems not be easy even if they are HCWs. In order to overcome the barriers among HCWs related to pandemic vaccines, determination of their misinformation, attitudes and behaviors regarding the pandemic influenza vaccination is necessary. Efforts for orienting the HCWs to use evidence based scientific sources, rather than the media for information should be considered by the authorities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-596
PMCID: PMC3091558  PMID: 20932342
6.  Measles Outbreak Associated with a Church Congregation: A Study of Immunization Attitudes of Congregation Members 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(2):126-134.
SYNOPSIS
Objective
Although measles has not been endemic in the U.S. since 1997 due to high vaccination coverage, recent U.S. measles outbreaks have been associated with individuals and groups who have refused vaccination for philosophical, cultural, or religious reasons. One such outbreak occurred in Indiana among a group of church members in May and June of 2005. Our objectives were to: (1) determine attitudes and beliefs of church leaders and members regarding vaccinations and the outbreak experience, (2) describe reasons for vaccine acceptance and nonacceptance, and (3) assess the feasibility of a knowledge and attitudes study in the context of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak.
Methods
We conducted a focus group with church leaders and families and held 12 structured household interviews with church members directly and indirectly involved in the outbreaks.
Results
A combination of safety concerns, personal experience, and religious beliefs contributed to vaccination refusal among a subgroup of church members. While the experience with measles disease did not necessarily translate into a more positive perception of vaccines, most families that refused vaccination would accept some future vaccines under unique circumstances, such as disease presence in the community or if vaccination could be delayed until a child was older.
Conclusions
Lessons learned from this outbreak experience can inform future outbreak investigations elsewhere. Maintaining open communication with parents who refuse immunizations, as well as working with their trusted social networks, can help public health professionals facilitate alternative means of disease control during a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak in the community.
PMCID: PMC2239322  PMID: 18457065
7.  Does the relative importance of MMR vaccine concerns differ by degree of parental vaccine hesitancy? 
Background: There has been a rise in the number of vaccine-hesitant parents (VHPs) in the US, many of whom express reservations about administering the MMR vaccine to their children. We studied the relative importance of attitudinal barriers to MMR vaccination among VHPs with differing levels of MMR vaccine-hesitancy.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional exploratory analysis of a parental survey that assessed common vaccination barriers among MMR vaccine-hesitant parents in Michigan. The outcome of interest was parental MMR vaccination intention, measured on an 11-point scale, with higher numbers corresponding to greater intent. The relative importance of identified barriers to MMR vaccination was assessed across levels of vaccine hesitancy. Exploratory factor analysis was performed to identify underlying attitudinal constructs and assess if these constructs’ importance varied depending on the degree of parental vaccine hesitancy.
Results: Our study population included 79 Michigan parents who initially screened positive for MMR vaccine-hesitancy. Within this sample, 47% of parents were unsure about their vaccination intentions and 20% expressed negative intentions, while a third (33%) of parents had positive vaccination intentions when further questioned. After grouping the barriers in our study into four underlying factors, parents with negative vaccination intentions had statistically significant higher factor score for the factor “risks versus benefits” and a statistically significant lower mean score for “vaccine importance,” compared with parents with unsure or positive intentions.
Conclusions: In this exploratory study we found that vaccine-specific concerns have varying salience for parents based on their vaccination intention. Thus, future educational programs likely should tailor messages based on the degree of vaccine hesitancy expressed in their target populations in order to improve their overall effectiveness.
doi:10.4161/hv.22065
PMCID: PMC3859768  PMID: 23032161
measles; mumps; rubella; vaccine hesitancy; vaccination barriers; vaccination intention
8.  A qualitative study of HPV vaccine acceptability among health workers, teachers, parents, female pupils, and religious leaders in northwest Tanzania 
Vaccine  2012;30(36):5363-5367.
Highlights
► The acceptability of HPV vaccination in Tanzania was studied qualitatively. ► Non-health workers knew nothing about HPV and HPV vaccines. ► Very few health workers (HWs) knew about HPV and HPV vaccines. ► After a brief explanation most of both groups supported HPV vaccination. ► Community and HW sensitisation will be needed before introducing HPV vaccination.
Background
As human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines become available in developing countries, acceptability studies can help to better understand potential barriers and facilitators of HPV vaccination and guide immunisation programs.
Methods
Prior to a cluster-randomised phase IV trial of HPV vaccination delivery strategies in Mwanza Region, Tanzania, qualitative research was conducted to assess attitudes and knowledge about cervical cancer and HPV, and acceptability of and potential barriers to HPV vaccination of Tanzanian primary schoolgirls. Semi-structured interviews (n = 31) and group discussions (n = 12) were conducted with a total of 169 respondents (parents, female pupils, teachers, health workers and religious leaders).
Results
While participants had heard of cancer in general, most respondents had no knowledge of cervical cancer, HPV, or HPV vaccines. Only health workers had heard of cervical cancer but very few knew its cause or had any awareness about HPV vaccines. After participants were provided with information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination, the majority stated that they would support HPV vaccination of their daughter to protect them against cervical cancer. Opt-out consent for vaccination was considered acceptable. Most preferred age-based vaccination, saying this would target more girls before sexual debut than class-based vaccination. Potential side effects and infertility concerns were raised by 5/14 of participating male teachers.
Discussion
Reported acceptability of HPV vaccination amongst parents, teachers and other community members was high in this population. Respondents stressed the need to provide adequate information about the vaccine to parents, that also addresses side effects and infertility concerns.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.06.025
PMCID: PMC3409375  PMID: 22732428
Human papillomavirus; Vaccine; Acceptability; Schools; Barriers; Tanzania
9.  HPV vaccine decision making in pediatric primary care: a semi-structured interview study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:74.
Background
Despite national recommendations, as of 2009 human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates were low with < 30% of adolescent girls fully vaccinated. Research on barriers to vaccination has focused separately on parents, adolescents, or clinicians and not on the decision making process among all participants at the point of care. By incorporating three distinct perspectives, we sought to generate hypotheses to inform interventions to increase vaccine receipt.
Methods
Between March and June, 2010, we conducted qualitative interviews with 20 adolescent-mother-clinician triads (60 individual interviews) directly after a preventive visit with the initial HPV vaccine due. Interviews followed a guide based on published HPV literature, involved 9 practices, and continued until saturation of the primary themes was achieved. Purposive sampling balanced adolescent ages and practice type (urban resident teaching versus non-teaching). Using a modified grounded theory approach, we analyzed data with NVivo8 software both within and across triads to generate primary themes.
Results
The study population was comprised of 20 mothers (12 Black, 9 < high school diploma), 20 adolescents (ten 11-12 years old), and 20 clinicians (16 female). Nine adolescents received the HPV vaccine at the visit, eight of whom were African American. Among the 11 not vaccinated, all either concurrently received or were already up-to-date on Tdap and MCV4. We did not observe systematic patterns of vaccine acceptance or refusal based on adolescent age or years of clinician experience. We identified 3 themes: (1) Parents delayed, rather than refused vaccination, and when they expressed reluctance, clinicians were hesitant to engage them in discussion. (2) Clinicians used one of two strategies to present the HPV vaccine, either presenting it as a routine vaccine with no additional information or presenting it as optional and highlighting risks and benefits. (3) Teens considered themselves passive participants in decision making, even when parents and clinicians reported including them in the process.
Conclusions
Programs to improve HPV vaccine delivery in primary care should focus on promoting effective parent-clinician communication. Research is needed to evaluate strategies to help clinicians engage reluctant parents and passive teens in discussion and measure the impact of distinct clinician decision making approaches on HPV vaccine delivery.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-74
PMCID: PMC3175168  PMID: 21878128
10.  How healthcare professionals respond to parents with religious objections to vaccination: a qualitative study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-231
PMCID: PMC3469371  PMID: 22852838
Vaccination; Immunization; Healthcare professionals; Decision-making; Religion; Religious objections to vaccination
11.  Frequency of Adverse Events after Vaccination with Different Vaccinia Strains 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(8):e272.
Background
Large quantities of smallpox vaccine have been stockpiled to protect entire nations against a possible reintroduction of smallpox. Planning for an appropriate use of these stockpiled vaccines in response to a smallpox outbreak requires a rational assessment of the risks of vaccination-related adverse events, compared to the risk of contracting an infection. Although considerable effort has been made to understand the dynamics of smallpox transmission in modern societies, little attention has been paid to estimating the frequency of adverse events due to smallpox vaccination. Studies exploring the consequences of smallpox vaccination strategies have commonly used a frequency of approximately one death per million vaccinations, which is based on a study of vaccination with the New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) strain of vaccinia virus. However, a multitude of historical studies of smallpox vaccination with other vaccinia strains suggest that there are strain-related differences in the frequency of adverse events after vaccination. Because many countries have stockpiled vaccine based on the Lister strain of vaccinia virus, a quantitative evaluation of the adverse effects of such vaccines is essential for emergency response planning. We conducted a systematic review and statistical analysis of historical data concerning vaccination against smallpox with different strains of vaccinia virus.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed historical vaccination data extracted from the literature. We extracted data on the frequency of postvaccinal encephalitis and death with respect to vaccinia strain and age of vaccinees. Using a hierarchical Bayesian approach for meta-analysis, we estimated the expected frequencies of postvaccinal encephalitis and death with respect to age at vaccination for smallpox vaccines based on the NYCBH and Lister vaccinia strains. We found large heterogeneity between findings from different studies and a time-period effect that showed decreasing incidences of adverse events over several decades. To estimate death rates, we then restricted our analysis to more-recent studies. We estimated that vaccination with the NYCBH strain leads to an average of 1.4 deaths per million vaccinations (95% credible interval, 0–6) and that vaccination with Lister vaccine leads to an average of 8.4 deaths per million vaccinations (95% credible interval, 0–31). We combined age-dependent estimates of the frequency of death after vaccination and revaccination with demographic data to obtain estimates of the expected number of deaths in present societies due to vaccination with the NYCBH and Lister vaccinia strains.
Conclusions
Previous analyses of smallpox vaccination policies, which rely on the commonly assumed value of one death per million vaccinations, may give serious underestimates of the number of deaths resulting from vaccination. Moreover, because there are large, strain-dependent differences in the frequency of adverse events due to smallpox vaccination, it is difficult to extrapolate from predictions for the NYCBH-derived vaccines (stockpiled in countries such as the US) to predictions for the Lister-derived vaccines (stockpiled in countries such as Germany). In planning for an effective response to a possible smallpox outbreak, public-health decision makers should reconsider their strategies of when to opt for ring vaccination and when to opt for mass vaccination.
Analysis of historical data for adverse events suggests that the commonly assumed number of one death per million vaccinations is inaccurate. Large differences between different vaccinia strains used should be taken into account when mass vaccinations are considered.
Editors' Summary
Background.
For thousands of years, smallpox was one of the world's most-feared diseases. This contagious disease, caused by the variola virus, historically killed about 30 percent of the people it infected. Over the centuries, it probably killed more people than all other infectious diseases combined, but it was also the first disease to be prevented by vaccination. In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner rubbed pus from the spots of a milkmaid with cowpox into scratches on a young boy's arm; according to folklore, people who caught cowpox, a related but mild disease of cows, were protected against smallpox. Six weeks later, after a mild bout of cowpox, when the boy was challenged with pus from a smallpox patient, he did not develop smallpox. This vaccination procedure was later refined so that people were inoculated with pure preparations of live vaccinia virus, which is closely related to the smallpox and cowpox viruses, and by 1979 a global vaccination campaign had totally eradicated the disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Smallpox vaccination has some adverse effects. In particular, vaccinia virus occasionally infects the brain. This so-called post-vaccination encephalitis can cause permanent brain damage and, it has been estimated, kills one vaccinee in every million. Consequently, as smallpox became rarer, the dangers of vaccination began to outweigh its benefits. Routine smallpox vaccination stopped in the US in 1972, and in 1980 the World Health Organization recommended that all countries stop vaccination. Now, however, there are fears that smallpox may be used for bioterrorism. If this did happen, exposed individuals and their contacts, possibly even whole populations, would have to be vaccinated as quickly as possible (very few people now have strong immunity to smallpox). Many countries have stockpiles of smallpox vaccines for this eventuality, but these contain different vaccinia virus strains. In this study, the researchers examined historical data to discover whether these strains differ in their potential to cause encephalitis and death. This information should help public-health officials plan their vaccination strategies in response to a bioterrorism attack with smallpox.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected data from published studies on smallpox vaccination and adverse events from several countries from the late 1950s onwards. They then used these data to extrapolate how often the different vaccinia strains might cause encephalitis and death if they were used today in vaccination programs. They estimate that vaccinating with the New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) strain, which is stockpiled in the US, might cause 2.9 cases of post-vaccination encephalitis and 1.4 deaths per million vaccinated individuals. In contrast, the Lister strain, which is stockpiled in many European countries, might cause 26.2 cases of post-vaccination encephalitis and 2.5 deaths per million vaccinees. For both strains, vaccination of children younger than 1 year old would cause the highest death rate, and individuals being re-vaccinated would be less likely to die than those being vaccinated for the first time. Finally, the researchers use their figures to estimate that about ten people would die if mass vaccination with the NYCBH strain were used in the Netherlands (population 16 million), whereas 55 people would die if the Lister strain were used.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The data used in this study are of variable quality, so the figures calculated by the researchers are only estimates. For instance, given the scatter of the original data, mass vaccination in the Netherlands with the Lister strain might cause anywhere between seven and nearly 200 deaths. However, the study clearly suggests that more serious adverse events would occur after vaccination with the Lister strain than after vaccination with the NYCBH strain. It also indicates that even in the US, where the NYCBH vaccine strain is stockpiled, previous analyses of the effects of vaccination in response to a bioterrorist attack have probably underestimated how many people might die from post-vaccination encephalitis. Public-health decision makers should incorporate these new estimates into their planning for a smallpox outbreak. These increased estimates of adverse events after vaccination might, for example, make mass vaccination with the Lister strain of vaccinia virus less acceptable. Instead, public-health officials might decide to rely on vaccination of only the people directly exposed to released smallpox virus and their close contacts (ring vaccination) to contain a smallpox outbreak.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030272.
World Health Organization, information on smallpox and preparedness in the event of a smallpox outbreak
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on smallpox
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, patient fact sheet on smallpox
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, information for patients and professionals on smallpox
Wikipedia page on smallpox (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
Wellcome Library MedHist, links to information on the history of smallpox vaccination
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030272
PMCID: PMC1551910  PMID: 16933957
12.  Forgone vaccination during childhood and adolescence: Findings of a statewide survey of parents 
Preventive medicine  2013;56(3-4):202-206.
Objective
Widespread immunization confers both individual- and community-level protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. To better understand vaccine hesitancy, we assessed correlates of forgone vaccination for children and adolescents.
Method
We analyzed weighted data from the 2010 Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program survey of North Carolina parents (n=1,847) of children ages 1–17.
Results
Overall, 12% of parents reported having refused or delayed a vaccine for their child. Forgone vaccination was more common for young children than for teenagers (16% versus 8%) and for children born before rather than on/after their due dates (16% versus 10%). Parents with high (versus low) scores on an index of healthy feeding practices were also more likely to report forgone vaccination (17% versus 5%). The most common reason for forgoing vaccines was concern about safety (34%). Other reasons included believing the child did not need (18%) or was too young (13%) for the vaccine, or that the child was sick (10%).
Conclusion
Forgoing vaccines is more common among parents who are socially-advantaged and highly attentive to their children’s health in other areas such as nutrition. Providers should reassure parents of premature or sick children that such circumstances are not typically contraindications to vaccination.
doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.12.019
PMCID: PMC3582706  PMID: 23295175
child health; adolescent health; vaccination/statistics & numerical data; vaccine hesitancy; North Carolina
13.  Pan-Britain, mixed-methods study of multidisciplinary teams teaching parents to manage children's long-term kidney conditions at home: Study protocol 
Background
Care of children and young people (children) with long-term kidney conditions is usually managed by multidisciplinary teams. Published guidance recommends that whenever possible children with long-term conditions remain at home, meaning parents may be responsible for performing the majority of clinical care-giving. Multidisciplinary team members, therefore, spend considerable time promoting parents' learning about care-delivery and monitoring care-giving. However, this parent-educative aspect of clinicians' role is rarely articulated in the literature so little evidence exists to inform professionals' parent-teaching interventions.
Methods/Design
This ongoing study addresses this issue using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods involving the twelve children's kidney units in England, Scotland and Wales. Phase I involves a survey of multidisciplinary team members' parent-teaching interventions using:
i) A telephone-administered questionnaire to determine: the numbers of professionals from different disciplines in each team, the information/skills individual professionals relay to parents and the teaching strategies/interventions they use. Data will be managed using SPSS to produce descriptive statistics
ii) Digitally-recorded, qualitative group or individual interviews with multidisciplinary team members to explore their accounts of the parent-teaching component of their role. Interviews will be transcribed anonymously and analysed using Framework Technique. Sampling criteria will be derived from analysis to identify one/two unit(s) for subsequent in-depth study
Phase II involves six prospective, ethnographic case-studies of professional-parent interactions during parent-teaching encounters. Parents of six children with a long-term kidney condition will be purposively sampled according to their child's age, diagnosis, ethnicity and the clinical care-giving required; snowball sampling will identify the professionals involved in each case-study. Participants will provide signed consent; data gathering will involve a combination of: minimally-obtrusive observations in the clinical setting and families' homes; de-briefing interviews with participants to obtain views on selected interactions; focussed 'verbatim' field-notes, and case-note reviews. Data gathering will focus on communication between parents and professionals as parents learn care-giving skills and knowledge. Interviews will be digitally recorded and transcribed anonymously.
Discussion
This study involves an iterative-inductive approach and will provide a unique, detailed insight into the social context in which professionals teach and parents learn; it will inform professionals' parent-educative roles, educational curricula, and health care policy
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-33
PMCID: PMC3312868  PMID: 22333296
14.  Testing vaccines in pediatric research subjects 
Vaccine  2009;27(25-26):3291-3294.
Past difficulties encountered in pediatric vaccine research have positively influenced the development of modern regulations of human subjects’ research. These regulations permit pediatric research but impose special restrictions on the types of studies to which children may participate, and these restrictions have important implications for modern vaccine trials. These ethical issues pose real but surmountable concerns. Considerations also include the use of placebos, critical for trial design but an impediment to parental permission. Recent pediatric vaccine studies illustrate practical alternatives to placebos that preserve allocation concealment and blinding yet obtain parental support. Vaccine researchers must consider the role parents play, not just in giving formal permission for their children’s participation, but also for their roles in active recruitment, successful retention, and data acquisition. Studies of parents’ attitudes do identify consistencies among motivating forces that drive parents to participate or refuse their children’s participation. These studies should influence how we design and execute pediatric vaccine trials. Finally, ethical considerations and current regulations raise certain issues concerning the remuneration of the research volunteer when that volunteer is a child. The published literature illustrates wide variation in practice. Better understanding of the restrictions in pediatric research, the use of placebos, the attitude of parents, and the concerns with remuneration can better equip the vaccine researcher in pursuing successful studies in children.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.02.031
PMCID: PMC2831649  PMID: 19460598
Vaccines; Human experimentation; Child
15.  Pediatricians' Experience with and Response to Parental Vaccine Safety Concerns and Vaccine Refusals: A Survey of Connecticut Pediatricians 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(Suppl 2):13-23.
Objectives
Physicians are seeing increasing numbers of parents who question the safety of vaccines or refuse to vaccinate their children. This study examined how frequently pediatricians in one New England state encounter parental vaccine safety concerns and vaccine refusals, how often physicians dismiss families from their practices for vaccine refusal, and how parental vaccine refusal impacts pediatricians personally.
Methods
The study consisted of a quantitative survey of primary care pediatricians in one New England state; 133 pediatricians completed the questionnaire. Variables examined included number of parental vaccine concerns and refusals seen by each physician, physicians' response to parental vaccine concerns and refusals, the personal impact of parental vaccine safety refusals on pediatricians, and respondent estimates of socioeconomic characteristics of families seen in their practices.
Results
The majority of responding pediatricians reported an increase in parental vaccine safety concerns and refusals. More than 30% of responding pediatricians have dismissed families because of their refusal to immunize. Suburban physicians caring for wealthier, better educated families experience more vaccine concerns and/or refusals and are more likely to dismiss families for vaccine refusal. Vaccine refusals have a negative personal impact on one-third of physician respondents.
Conclusions
Pediatricians in Connecticut are reporting increased levels of parental vaccine safety concerns and refusals. Physicians who report more parental vaccine safety concerns and refusals and who care for wealthier, better educated families are more likely to dismiss families who refuse vaccines and to be negatively affected by parental vaccine refusals, which may adversely impact childhood vaccination rates.
PMCID: PMC3113426  PMID: 21812165
16.  Parental attitudes toward multiple poliovirus injections following a provider recommendation. 
Public Health Reports  2001;116(4):282-288.
OBJECTIVES: Changes to the polio vaccination schedule, first to a sequential inactivated poliovirus/oral poliovirus (IPV/OPV) schedule in 1996 and most recently to an all-IPV schedule, require infants to receive additional injections. Some surveys show parental hesitation concerning extra injections, whereas others show that parents prefer multiple simultaneous injections over extra immunization visits. This study describes parental behavior and attitudes about the poliovirus vaccine recommendations and additional injections at the 2- and 4-month immunization visits. METHODS: Beginning July 1, 1996, providers in eight public health clinics in Cobb and Douglas Counties, Georgia, informed parents of polio vaccination options and recommended the IPV/OPV sequential schedule. A cross-sectional clinic exit survey was conducted from July 15, 1996, to January 31, 1997, with parents whose infants (younger than 6 months) were eligible for a first poliovirus vaccination. RESULTS: Of approximately 405 eligible infants, parents of 293 infants were approached for an interview, and 227 agreed to participate. Of those 227 participants, 210 (92%) parents chose IPV for their infant and 17 (8%) chose OPV. Of greatest concern to most parents was vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) (155, or 68.3%); the next greatest concern was an extra injection (22, or 9.7%). These parental concerns were unrelated to the number of injections the infant actually received. CONCLUSIONS: After receiving information on polio vaccination options and a provider recommendation, parents overwhelmingly chose IPV over OPV. Concern about VAPP was more common than objection to an extra injection. The additional injection that results from using IPV for an infant's first poliovirus vaccination appears to be acceptable to most parents.
PMCID: PMC1497352  PMID: 12037256
17.  Participation in and attitude towards the national immunization program in the Netherlands: data from population-based questionnaires 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:57.
Background
Knowledge about the determinants of participation and attitude towards the National Immunisation Program (NIP) may be helpful in tailoring information campaigns for this program. Our aim was to determine which factors were associated with nonparticipation in the NIP and which ones were associated with parents' intention to accept remaining vaccinations. Further, we analyzed possible changes in opinion on vaccination over a 10 year period.
Methods
We used questionnaire data from two independent, population-based, cross-sectional surveys performed in 1995-96 and 2006-07. For the 2006-07 survey, logistic regression modelling was used to evaluate what factors were associated with nonparticipation and with parents' intention to accept remaining vaccinations. We used multivariate multinomial logistic regression modelling to compare the results between the two surveys.
Results
Ninety-five percent of parents reported that they or their child (had) participated in the NIP. Similarly, 95% reported they intended to accept remaining vaccinations. Ethnicity, religion, income, educational level and anthroposophic beliefs were important determinants of nonparticipation in the NIP. Parental concerns that played a role in whether or not they would accept remaining vaccinations included safety of vaccinations, maximum number of injections, whether vaccinations protect the health of one's child and whether vaccinating healthy children is necessary. Although about 90% reported their opinion towards vaccination had not changed, a larger proportion of participants reported to be less inclined to accept vaccination in 2006-07 than in 1995-96.
Conclusion
Most participants had a positive attitude towards vaccination, although some had doubts. Groups with a lower income or educational level or of non-Western descent participated less in the NIP than those with a high income or educational level or indigenous Dutch and have been less well identified previously. Particular attention ought to be given to these groups as they contribute in large measure to the rate of nonparticipation in the NIP, i.e., to a greater extent than well-known vaccine refusers such as specific religious groups and anthroposophics. Our finding that the proportion of the population inclined to accept vaccinations is smaller than it was 10 years ago highlights the need to increase knowledge about attitudes and beliefs regarding the NIP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-57
PMCID: PMC3298495  PMID: 22264347
18.  Parent-son decision-making about human papillomavirus vaccination: a qualitative analysis 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:192.
Background
Licensed for use in males in 2009, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates in adolescent males are extremely low. Literature on HPV vaccination focuses on females, adult males, or parents of adolescent males, without including adolescent males or the dynamics of the parent-son interaction that may influence vaccine decision-making. The purpose of this paper is to examine the decision-making process of parent-son dyads when deciding whether or not to get vaccinated against HPV.
Methods
Twenty-one adolescent males (ages 13–17), with no previous HPV vaccination, and their parents/guardians were recruited from adolescent primary care clinics serving low to middle income families in a large Midwestern city. Dyad members participated in separate semi-structured interviews assessing the relative role of the parent and son in the decision regarding HPV vaccination. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using inductive content analysis.
Results
Parents and sons focused on protection as a reason for vaccination; parents felt a need to protect their child, while sons wanted to protect their own health. Parents and sons commonly misinterpreted the information about the vaccine. Sons were concerned about an injection in the penis, while some parents and sons thought the vaccine would protect them against other sexually transmitted infections including Herpes, Gonorrhea, and HIV. Parents and sons recalled that the vaccine prevented genital warts rather than cancer. The vaccine decision-making process was rapid and dynamic, including an initial reaction to the recommendation for HPV vaccine, discussion between parent and son, and the final vaccine decision. Provider input was weighed in instances of initial disagreement. Many boys felt that this was the first health care decision that they had been involved in. Dyads which reported shared decision-making were more likely to openly communicate about sexual issues than those that agreed the son made the decision.
Conclusion
Parents and sons play an active role in the decision-making process, with an individual’s role being influenced by many factors. The results of this study may be used to guide the messages presented by clinicians when recommending the HPV vaccine, and future vaccine uptake interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-192
PMCID: PMC3547753  PMID: 23241217
Human papillomavirus vaccin; Adolescent males; Parents; Decision-making; Dyadic decision-making
19.  The informed consent in Southern Italy does not adequately inform parents about infant vaccination 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:211.
Background
Vaccination centres in the Campania Region, southern Italy, vaccinate children with a hexavalent vaccine that contains the mandatory vaccines diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, and viral Hepatitis B. This vaccine also includes two non-mandatory vaccines, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae type B. Information about these optional vaccines should be communicated to the parents, and informed consent should be obtained from parents before vaccination. We explored whether informed consent was delivered to the parents, whether they signed the consent form, and whether they read and acquired the information about the vaccination that their child would receive.
Methods
Childhood immunisations are provided at specific public health vaccination centres, "Unità Operative Materno-infantili’s" (UOMIs). We selected four UOMI from the Campania Region where we interviewed 1039 parents bringing their children for the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd doses of hexavalent vaccine. The consent forms were collected from the four vaccination centres and were analysed with respect to clarity and completeness.
Results
Most of the respondents (89.5%) were mothers between 20 and 39 years of age (80.4% vs 59.6% of the fathers), they were married (87.2% vs 93.5% of the fathers), and only one-half of them were employed (50.2% vs 92.6% of the fathers). The informed consent form was received from 58.1% of the parents and signed by 52.8%, but read by 35.0% of them. Only 1.5% of parents knew which vaccines were mandatory, and 25.0% of them believed that the entire hexavalent vaccine was mandatory. When we asked the parents which non-mandatory vaccinations were administered to their children, only 0.5% indicated the Haemophilus influenzae type B and none indicated the pertussis vaccine. Thirty-six per cent of the parents replied that their child had not received any non-mandatory vaccines. No parents were informed by the operators that their children would receive non-mandatory vaccines.
Conclusion
In our study, consent procedures did not allow parents to acquire correct information about vaccine options for their children. Furthermore, not one health care provider informed parents that their child was receiving non-mandatory vaccines. The informed consent process and the individual health care providers did not properly inform parents about the vaccines administered to their children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-211
PMCID: PMC3948334  PMID: 24580773
Information; Informed consent; Infant vaccination
20.  A pilot study on the effects of individually tailored education for MMR vaccine-hesitant parents on MMR vaccination intention 
Healthcare providers need strategies to better address the concerns of vaccine-hesitant parents. We studied whether individually tailored education was more effective than untailored education at improving vaccination intention among MMR vaccine-hesitant parents. In an intervention pilot study of parents (n = 77) of children < 6 y who screened as hesitant to vaccinate against MMR (first or second dose), parents were randomly assigned to receive either (1) educational web pages that were individually tailored to address their specific vaccine concerns; or (2) web pages similar in appearance to the intervention but containing untailored information. The main outcome, change in vaccination intention before and after the intervention, was assessed using an 11-pt scale (higher values indicated greater intent). We found that a greater proportion of parents in the tailored than untailored arm had positive vaccination intentions after viewing educational information (58% vs. 46%). Furthermore, parents in the tailored group had a greater magnitude of change in vaccination intention (1.08 vs. 0.49 points) than participants in the untailored group. However, neither of these results was statistically significant. From this pilot study we conclude message tailoring may be an effective way to improve vaccine compliance among vaccine hesitant parents. However, larger studies are warranted to further investigate the efficacy of providing tailored education for increasing vaccine acceptance among parents with diverse beliefs.
doi:10.4161/hv.22821
PMCID: PMC3859769  PMID: 23291937
Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine; vaccine refusal; parents; vaccine hesitancy
21.  Professional Uncertainty and Disempowerment Responding to Ethnic Diversity in Health Care: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(11):e323.
Background
While ethnic disparities in health and health care are increasing, evidence on how to enhance quality of care and reduce inequalities remains limited. Despite growth in the scope and application of guidelines on “cultural competence,” remarkably little is known about how practising health professionals experience and perceive their work with patients from diverse ethnic communities. Using cancer care as a clinical context, we aimed to explore this with a range of health professionals to inform interventions to enhance quality of care.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a qualitative study involving 18 focus groups with a purposeful sample of 106 health professionals of differing disciplines, in primary and secondary care settings, working with patient populations of varying ethnic diversity in the Midlands of the UK. Data were analysed by constant comparison and we undertook processes for validation of analysis. We found that, as they sought to offer appropriate care, health professionals wrestled with considerable uncertainty and apprehension in responding to the needs of patients of ethnicities different from their own. They emphasised their perceived ignorance about cultural difference and were anxious about being culturally inappropriate, causing affront, or appearing discriminatory or racist. Professionals' ability to think and act flexibly or creatively faltered. Although trying to do their best, professionals' uncertainty was disempowering, creating a disabling hesitancy and inertia in their practice. Most professionals sought and applied a knowledge-based cultural expertise approach to patients, though some identified the risk of engendering stereotypical expectations of patients. Professionals' uncertainty and disempowerment had the potential to perpetuate each other, to the detriment of patient care.
Conclusions
This study suggests potential mechanisms by which health professionals may inadvertently contribute to ethnic disparities in health care. It identifies critical opportunities to empower health professionals to respond more effectively. Interventions should help professionals acknowledge their uncertainty and its potential to create inertia in their practice. A shift away from a cultural expertise model toward a greater focus on each patient as an individual may help.
From a qualitative study, Joe Kai and colleagues have identified opportunities to empower health professionals to respond more effectively to challenges in their work with patients from diverse ethnic communities.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Communities are increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicity (belonging to a group of people defined by social characteristics such as cultural tradition or national origin) and race (belonging to a group identified by inherited physical characteristics). Although health professionals and governments are striving to ensure that everybody has the same access to health care, there is increasing evidence of ethnic inequalities in health-care outcomes. Some of these inequalities reflect intrinsic differences between groups of people—Ashkenazi Jews, for example, often carry an altered gene that increases their chance of developing aggressive breast cancer. Often, however, these differences reflect inequalities in the health care received by different ethnic groups. To improve this situation, “cultural competence” has been promoted over recent years. Cultural competence is the development of skills by individuals and organizations that allow them to work effectively with people from different cultures. Health professionals are now taught about ethnic differences in health beliefs and practices, religion, and communication styles to help them provide the best service to all their patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
Numerous guidelines aim to improve cultural competency but little is known about how health professionals experience and perceive their work with patients from diverse ethnic groups. Is their behavior influenced by ethnicity in ways that might contribute to health care disparities? For example, do doctors sometimes avoid medical examinations for fear of causing offence because of cultural differences? If more were known about how health professionals handle ethnic diversity (a term used here to include both ethnicity and race) it might be possible to reduce ethnic inequalities in health care. In this qualitative study, the researchers have explored how health professionals involved in cancer care are affected by working with ethnically diverse patients. A qualitative study is one that collects nonquantitative data such as how doctors “feel” about treating people of different ethnic backgrounds; a quantitative study might compare clinical outcomes in different ethnic groups.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 106 doctors, nurses, and other health-related professionals from different health-service settings in the Midlands, an ethnically diverse region of the UK. They organized 18 focus groups in which the health professionals described their experiences of caring for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The participants were encouraged to recall actual cases and to identify what they saw as problems and strengths in their interactions with these patients. The researchers found that the health professionals wrestled with many challenges when providing health care for patients from diverse ethnic backgrounds. These challenges included problems with language and with general communication (for example, deciding when it was acceptable to touch a patient to show empathy). Health professionals also worried they did not know enough about cultural differences. As a result, they said they often felt uncertain of their ability to avoid causing affront or appearing racist. This uncertainty, the researchers report, disempowered the health professionals, sometimes making them hesitate or fail to do what was best for their patient.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings reveal that health professionals often experience considerable uncertainty when caring for ethnically diverse patients, even after training in cultural competency. They also show that this uncertainty can lead to hesitancy and inertia, which might contribute to ethnic health care inequalities. Because the study participants were probably already interested in ethnic diversity and health care, interviews with other health professionals (and investigations of patient experiences) are needed to confirm these findings. Nevertheless, the researchers suggest several interventions that might reduce health care inequalities caused by ethnic diversity. For example, health professionals should be encouraged to recognize their uncertainty and should have access to more information and training about ethnic differences. In addition, there should be a shift in emphasis away from relying on knowledge-based cultural information towards taking an “ethnographic” approach. In other words, health professionals should be helped to feel able to ask their patients about what matters most to them as individuals about their illness and treatment.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040323.
Information on cultural competence and health care is available from the US National Center for Cultural Competence (in English and Spanish) and DiversityRx
PROCEED (Professionals Responding to Cancer in Ethnic Diversity) is a multimedia training tool for educators within the health and allied professions developed from the results of this study; a press release on PROCEED is available from the University of Nottingham
Transcultural Health Care Practice: An educational resource for nurses and health care practitioners is available on the web site of the UK Royal College of Nursing
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040323
PMCID: PMC2071935  PMID: 18001148
22.  School-Based Influenza Vaccination: Parents’ Perspectives 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e93490.
Background
School-age children are important drivers of annual influenza epidemics yet influenza vaccination coverage of this population is low despite universal publicly funded influenza vaccination in Alberta, Canada. Immunizing children at school may potentially increase vaccine uptake. As parents are a key stakeholder group for such a program, it is important to consider their concerns.
Purpose
We explored parents’ perspectives on the acceptability of adding an annual influenza immunization to the immunization program that is currently delivered in Alberta schools, and obtained suggestions for structuring such a program.
Participants
Forty-eight parents of children aged 5-18 years participated in 9 focus groups. Participants lived in urban areas of the Alberta Health Services Calgary Zone.
Findings
Three major themes emerged: Advantages of school-based influenza vaccination (SBIV), Disadvantages of SBIV, and Implications for program design & delivery. Advantages were perceived to occur for different populations: children (e.g. emotional support), families (e.g. convenience), the community (e.g. benefits for school and multicultural communities), the health sector (e.g. reductions in costs due to burden of illness) and to society at large (e.g. indirect conduit of information about health services, building structure for pandemic preparedness, building healthy lifestyles). Disadvantages, however, might also occur for children (e.g. older children less likely to be immunized), families (e.g. communication challenges, perceived loss of parental control over information, choices and decisions) and the education sector (loss of instructional time). Nine second-level themes emerged within the major theme of Implications for program design & delivery: program goals/objectives, consent process, stakeholder consultation, age-appropriate program, education, communication, logistics, immunizing agent, and clinic process.
Conclusions
Parents perceived advantages and disadvantages to delivering annual seasonal influenza immunizations to children at school. Their input gives a framework of issues to address in order to construct robust, acceptable programs for delivering influenza or other vaccines in schools.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093490
PMCID: PMC3970961  PMID: 24686406
23.  Reasons for Receiving or Not Receiving HPV Vaccination in Primary Schoolgirls in Tanzania: A Case Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e45231.
Background
There are few data on factors influencing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined the characteristics of receivers and non-receivers of HPV vaccination in Tanzania and identified reasons for not receiving the vaccine.
Methods
We conducted a case control study of HPV vaccine receivers and non-receivers within a phase IV cluster-randomised trial of HPV vaccination in 134 primary schools in Tanzania. Girls who failed to receive vaccine (pupil cases) and their parents/guardians (adult cases) and girls who received dose 1 (pupil controls) of the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil™) and their parents/guardians (adult controls) were enrolled from 39 schools in a 1∶1 ratio and interviewed about cervical cancer, HPV vaccine knowledge and reasons why they might have received or not received the vaccine. Conditional logistic regression was used to determine factors independently associated with not receiving HPV vaccine.
Results
We interviewed 159 pupil/adult cases and 245 pupil/adult controls. Adult-factors independently associated with a daughter being a case were older age, owning fewer household items, not attending a school meeting about HPV vaccine, and not knowing anyone with cancer. Pupil-factors for being a case included having a non-positive opinion about the school de-worming programme, poor knowledge about the location of the cervix, and not knowing that a vaccine could prevent cervical cancer. Reasons for actively refusing vaccination included concerns about side effects and infertility. Most adult and pupil cases reported that they would accept the HPV vaccine if it were offered again (97% and 93% respectively).
Conclusions
Sensitisation messages, especially targeted at older and poorer parents, knowledge retention and parent meetings are critical for vaccine acceptance in Tanzania. Vaccine side effects and fertility concerns should be addressed prior to a national vaccination program. Parents and pupils who initially decline vaccination should be given an opportunity to reconsider their decision.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045231
PMCID: PMC3480345  PMID: 23115621
24.  Ohio Appalachia public health department personnel: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine availability, and acceptance and concerns among parents of male and female adolescents 
Journal of community health  2012;37(6):1157-1163.
Public health departments (n=48) serving the 32 counties of Ohio Appalachia were contacted to determine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine availability and to assess patient and parental attitudes, perceived barriers, and decisional differences about vaccination for male and female adolescents. Nurses or nursing supervisors in 46 of 48 health departments agreed to participate with 45 (97.8%) reporting that HPV vaccines were available for males and females. HPV vaccination barriers reported most frequently were lack of knowledge about the vaccines, concerns about potential side effects, the newness of the HPV vaccines, and parents believing their children were not sexually active or were too young to receive an HPV vaccine. Provider reports of the primary differences in the acceptability of an HPV vaccine among parents of males compared to the parents of females were lack of awareness that an HPV vaccine was available for males, not understanding why the vaccine should be given to males, and fear of vaccination increasing sexual promiscuity among female adolescents. Half of the health departments (n=24) reported that parents of females were more receptive toward HPV vaccination, 16 health departments reported no difference in acceptability based on gender of the child, and 5 health departments reported that parents of males were more receptive. This study suggests that there are different informational needs of males and females and parents of male and female children when making an informed decision about HPV vaccination. Findings highlight content to include in strategies to increase HPV vaccination rates among Appalachia Ohio residents.
doi:10.1007/s10900-012-9613-5
PMCID: PMC3490016  PMID: 22968822
HPV vaccines; cervical cancer; health care disparities; adolescent; Appalachian region
25.  Support for immunization registries among parents of vaccinated and unvaccinated school-aged children: a case control study 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:236.
Background
Immunizations have reduced childhood vaccine preventable disease incidence by 98–100%. Continued vaccine preventable disease control depends on high immunization coverage. Immunization registries help ensure high coverage by recording childhood immunizations administered, generating reminders when immunizations are due, calculating immunization coverage and identifying pockets needing immunization services, and improving vaccine safety by reducing over-immunization and providing data for post-licensure vaccine safety studies. Despite substantial resources directed towards registry development in the U.S., only 48% of children were enrolled in a registry in 2004. Parental attitudes likely impact child participation. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes of parents of vaccinated and unvaccinated school-aged children regarding: support for immunization registries; laws authorizing registries and mandating provider reporting; opt-in versus opt-out registry participation; and financial worth and responsibility of registry development and implementation.
Methods
A case control study of parents of 815 children exempt from school vaccination requirements and 1630 fully vaccinated children was conducted. Children were recruited from 112 elementary schools in Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Washington. Surveys administered to the parents, asked about views on registries and perceived utility and safety of vaccines. Parental views were summarized and logistic regression models compared differences between parents of exempt and vaccinated children.
Results
Surveys were completed by 56.1% of respondents. Fewer than 10% of parents were aware of immunization registries in their communities. Among parents aware of registries, exempt children were more likely to be enrolled (65.0%) than vaccinated children (26.5%) (p value = 0.01). A substantial proportion of parents of exempt children support immunization registries, particularly if registries offer choice for participation. Few parents of vaccinated (6.8%) and exempt children (6.7%) were aware of laws authorizing immunization registries. Support for laws authorizing registries and requiring health care providers to report to registries was more common among parents of vaccinated than exempt children. Most parents believed that the government, vaccine companies or insurance companies should pay for registries.
Conclusion
Parental support for registries was relatively high. Parental support for immunization registries may increase with greater parental awareness of the risks of vaccine preventable diseases and utility of vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-236
PMCID: PMC1592086  PMID: 16995946

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