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Vaccinating parents experience vaccine anxiety too

Luthy, Karlen E. DNP, FNP1; Beckstrand, Renea L. RN, PhD, CCRN, CNE1; Asay, Whitney BS, RN1; Hewett, Carly BS, RN1

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: December 2013 - Volume 25 - Issue 12 - p 667–673
doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12034

Purpose: To identify common causes of parental anxiety regarding childhood vaccinations among parents who vaccinate. Another purpose was to seek recommendations for healthcare providers to help parents overcome their anxiety when their children are immunized.

Data sources: Four 1-h focus groups were conducted, each consisting of 8–10 parents. Each focus group discussion was conducted by a moderator and an assistant moderator. The moderator facilitated discussion while the assistant moderator took notes. Each session was recorded on video. The data were transcribed and analyzed for themes.

Conclusions: Parents identifying themselves as being compliant with childhood vaccination requirements reported anxiety that can be divided into five major themes: parental anxiety prior to vaccination, parental anxiety during the vaccination, parental anxiety after the vaccination, parental suggestions for healthcare providers, and informational issues.

Implications for practice: Making minor changes in office policies may help alleviate some parental anxiety regarding vaccinations. Providers should also create lists of credible sources about vaccination information. Because the cause of vaccine-related parental anxiety varies, targeted education is necessary to relieve common causes of vaccine anxiety, even among parents who vaccinate.

1 (Assistant Professor) (Associate Professor) (Research Assistant) Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah,

Received: January 2012; accepted: June 2012

Correspondence Karlen E. Luthy, DNP, FNP Assistant Professor College of Nursing Brigham Young University 457 SWKT Provo, UT 84602. Tel: 801-422-6683; Fax: 801-422-0536; E-mail:

© 2013 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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