March 1988

Influence of Parental Knowledge and Opinions on 12-Month Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccination Rates

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah Medical School (Ms Lewis and Dr Osborn), and the Bureau of Vital Records, Utah Department of Health (Mr Brockert and Ms Jacobsen), Salt Lake City; UCLA Center for Health Sciences (Drs Lewis and Cherry).

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(3):283-286. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150030053018

• To assess the magnitude and cause of decreasing diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and pertussis (DTP) immunization rates, a retrospective cohort study investigated the immunization status against pertussis among 1-year-old children in Utah. Questionnaires were sent to the parents of 2975 children born in June 1985. Parents were asked about each child's DTP immunization status, including the number, type, and dates of the vaccinations, reasons for or against vaccination, and their knowledge of whooping cough and the vaccine. Children were considered adequately immunized against pertussis when they had received three DTP vaccinations by their first birthday. In Utah, the lack of pertussis immunization among young children is a serious problem: greater than 30% of 1-year-old children were not adequately protected. Accurate parental knowledge about the relative risks of vaccination and illness was associated with a greater likelihood for immunization. Although some parents chose to forego the vaccination because they were concerned about its side effects, the most common reason for incomplete immunization was illness at the time the vaccination was to be given. If immunization rates are to improve, health care professionals must not only make an effort to educate the general population regarding the vaccine, but they must also ensure immediate follow-up for immunization when the procedure is delayed.

(AJDC 1988;142:283-286)