Parental perceptions of barriers to childhood immunization: Results of focus groups conducted in an urban population

L. K. McCormick, L. K. Bartholomew, M. J. Lewis, M. W. Brown, I. C. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The current US immunization rates for 2 year olds are approximately half of the goal set for the year 2000. Research studies have focused primarily on the perception of health care providers in the identification of barriers and benefits to childhood immunization. While health care providers are an important part of the immunization delivery process, the perceptions of parents are also important. In this study, qualitative methods were used to explore perceived parental barriers to childhood immunization delivery. Twelve focus groups comprising White, African-American, Hispanic, urban and non-urban people were conducted at a variety of sites, including clinics, churches, schools and work sites. The results indicated that time off from work, access to well-child care and difficulty understanding the complexity of the immunization schedule were seen as barriers to adhering to an immunization schedule. Participants emphasized problems in taking time off from work to get immunizations, sometimes without pay, and expressed fears that doing so would jeopardize promotions and raises. While some of the parental perceptions were similar to those identified in studies of health care providers in the literature, many were not. This study emphasizes the importance of gathering information from parents as well as from health care providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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