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Study: Discouraging information linked with delayed infant vaccines :

August 18, 2017

Infants’ vaccines were more likely to be delayed if their mothers received discouraging information about immunization during pregnancy, a new study found.

There was no link between encouragement and timely vaccination, according to the study “Vaccine Education During Pregnancy and Timeliness of Infant Immunization,” (Veerasingam P, et al. Pediatrics. Aug. 18, 2017,

Researchers interviewed more than 6,000 women around week 39 of their pregnancy as part of the Growing up in New Zealand cohort study and found 30% received only encouraging information regarding vaccines, 10% received both encouraging and discouraging information and 4% received only discouraging information. The remaining 56% did not receive information. Health professionals provided much of the encouragement, while family and friends discouraged vaccination more often than other sources.

Using data from the National Immunization Register, the team looked at when the women’s infants received 6-week, 3-month and 5-month doses of two vaccines — diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis/Haemophilus influenzae type B/hepatitis B/poliovirus antigens and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Vaccination was considered on time if it occurred within a month of the recommended date.

Roughly 71% of women who did not receive advice about vaccines immunized their children on time compared to 57% of women who received discouraging information and 61% who received both encouraging and discouraging information. Researchers determined there is an association between vaccine delay and discouraging information, even when women also received advice in favor of vaccines.

“The ambiguity created by receiving both encouraging and discouraging information may be a key factor leading to parental vaccine hesitancy,” authors wrote.

About 73% of women who only received encouraging information vaccinated their children on time, just slightly higher than women who received no advice and not high enough to be associated with vaccination timeliness.

Researchers suggested developing new strategies to promote vaccination, especially for women who may have received discouraging information.

“Future studies should explore the content of the discouraging information and help develop counter-arguments to offset what appears to be impactful information,” authors wrote.

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