Parental hesitancy about routine childhood and influenza vaccinations: A national survey

Allison Kempe, Alison W. Saville, Christina Albertin, Gregory Zimet, Abigail Breck, Laura Helmkamp, Sitaram Vangala, L. Miriam Dickinson, Cindy Rand, Sharon Humiston, Peter G. Szilagyi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The World Health Organization has designated vaccine hesitancy as 1 of the 10 leading threats to global health, yet there is limited current national data on prevalence of hesitancy among US parents. Among a nationally representative sample of US parents, we aimed to (1) assess and compare prevalence of hesitancy and factors driving hesitancy for routine childhood and influenza vaccination and (2) examine associations between sociodemographic characteristics and hesitancy for routine childhood or influenza vaccination. METHODS: In February 2019, we surveyed families with children using the largest online panel generating representative US samples. After weighting, we assessed hesitancy using a modified 5-point Vaccine Hesitancy Scale and labeled parents as hesitant if they scored .3. RESULTS: A total of 2176 of 4445 parents sampled completed the survey (response rate 49%). Hesitancy prevalence was 6.1% for routine childhood and 25.8% for influenza vaccines; 12% strongly and 27% somewhat agreed they had concerns about serious side effects of both routine childhood and influenza vaccines. A total of 70% strongly agreed that routine childhood vaccines are effective versus 26% for influenza vaccine (P, .001). In multivariable models, an educational level lower than a bachelor’s degree and household income,400% of the federal poverty level predicted hesitancy about both routine childhood and influenza vaccines. CONCLUSIONS: Almost 1 in 15 US parents are hesitant about routine childhood vaccines, whereas .1 in 4 are hesitant about influenza vaccine. Furthermore, 1 in 8 parents are concerned about vaccine safety for both routine childhood and influenza vaccines, and only 1 in 4 believe influenza vaccine is effective. Vaccine hesitancy, particularly for influenza vaccine, is prevalent in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20193852
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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