Background: Assessment of parents’ vaccine-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KAB) is an important step in effective vaccine communication.
Objectives: Describe the vaccine KABs of US parents in 2011.
Methods: ConsumerStyles is a nationally representative, internet-based survey of US households. We analyzed respondents with one or more children six years of age and younger to determine their vaccine KABs.
Results: The ConsumerStyles response rate was 56% (8,110/14,598), and 956 respondents were parents of children six years of age and under. Most parents (87.8%) self-reported that their youngest child had or would receive all recommended vaccines as scheduled, while fewer parents reported plans to space out or delay vaccines (6.0%), accept some but not all vaccines (4.1%), or refuse all vaccines (2.1%) for their youngest child. When asked about their perceptions of other parents’ vaccination behaviors, 23.8% of respondents thought other parents planned to space out or delay vaccines. A child’s health care provider was the most common source of vaccination information, and most parents reported trusting and following the doctor’s vaccine advice. Most parents were confident or very confident in the safety (72.2%), effectiveness (77.8%), and benefits (76.9%) of routine childhood vaccines. The most common questions asked at vaccination visits were related to the type (70.3%) and number (66.7%) of vaccines that would be given at that visit. While 41.5% of parents reported that they had no concerns about vaccines, the most common concern among parents was the number of vaccines given in one office visit (22.1%).
Conclusions: Most parents surveyed planned to vaccinate their child on time, and were confident in the safety and benefits of vaccines. Of note, many parents perceived that others were not following the recommended vaccination schedule. Further research should explore and address the reasons for the discrepancy between reported and perceived behavior regarding childhood vaccines.