Theoretical Background and research questions/hypothesis: This study focused on how first-time mothers act or intend to act with respect to the recommended infant and childhood immunization schedule.
Methods: This is the first, baseline survey of a larger longitunidal survey (i.e., seven time points). Data were collected from a sample of 200 first-time mothers, in their second trimester of pregnancy, to examine vaccine-related knowledge, perceptions, intentions, and information-seeking behavior.
Results: A majority of expectant mothers (75%) plan to have their child receive all of the vaccinations and even though participants expressed interest in information on childhood vaccines, most of the women in this study did not appear to have received immunization informaiton directly from a primary care provider. One third of the women reported receving such information from their obstetrician/gynecologist but only about half of those who did indicated they were "very satisfied" with the information they received. In addition, about 70% of the respondents reported they were not familiar with the recommended vaccination schedule and the number of vaccines that are routinely recommended and were not satisfied with their current level of knowledge regarding childhood vaccines. Familarity with the commonly provided vaccine education messages varied widely among women in their second trimester of pregnancy, with women who indicated they were planning to delay one or more recommended vaccinations mostly relying on Internet searches for information on childhood vaccines.
Conclusions: Overall, expectant mothers in their second trimester of pregnancy have rather positive beliefs and perceptions regarding chidlhood vaccines and those are associated with intentions to get their newborn vaccinated as recommended. However, most who were planning to delay recommended vaccinations or who were undecided were relying primarily on socially available sources of vaccine information, rather than healthcare professionals.
Implications for research and/or practice: Improved access to vaccine information from healthcare professionals could foster better vaccine-related knowledge and favorably impact forthcoming vaccination decisions.