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Standard childhood vaccines: Parental hesitancy or refusal

Julie A Boom, MD
C Mary Healy, MD
Section Editors
Morven S Edwards, MD
Jan E Drutz, MD
Deputy Editor
Mary M Torchia, MD


This topic reviews the reasons why some parents refuse or are hesitant to have their child(ren) immunized, the consequences of vaccine refusal, and an approach to the management of parents who refuse vaccines for their children. Standard childhood immunizations for children are discussed separately. (See "Standard immunizations for children and adolescents: Overview".)


According to the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts Working Group on Vaccine Hesitancy [1]:

"Vaccine hesitancy refers to a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccination services. Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context specific, varying across time, place, and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience, and confidence."

Complacency refers to the perception that the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases are low.

Convenience refers to the availability, affordability, and accessibility of vaccines.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 11, 2017.
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