Decision making in vaccine hesitant parents and pregnant women: An integrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Vaccine refusal is increasing in Australia and is a major concern in high- and middle-income countries. There is evidence to suggest that some parents, even those who elect to immunise, may be vaccine hesitant with some manipulating the schedule by excluding or delaying some vaccines. The aim of this review was to gain an understanding of factors that influence vaccine decision-making in pregnant women and parents of children. 

Design: An integrative review approach was used to produce an analysis of existing literature on vaccine decision-making in pregnancy and parents. As the broadest of review methods, an integrative review can include a range of experimental and non-experimental research, thereby ensuring the inclusion of data from multiple perspectives. 

Data Sources: Online databases were searched for research related to vaccine decision-making in pregnant women and parents. Original and review articles were sought that were published in English between 2015 and 2021. Reviewed articles included qualitative and quantitative studies and systematic reviews. No mixed methods papers were located or excluded from this review. 

Review methods: The review method was an integrative review informed by Coughlan. 

Results: Papers from thirteen predominantly high- and middle-income countries were selected for this review. A total of 31 articles fit the inclusion/exclusion criteria, including qualitative, quantitative and review articles. Three main themes were identified including the role of healthcare professionals, vaccine safety concerns and alternative influences. Alternative influences included: social media, friends and family, religion, conspiracy theories and salutogenic parenting. Findings suggest that high levels of anxiety are involved in vaccine decision-making with parents seeking information from multiple sources including healthcare professionals, friends and family and social media. 

Conclusions: Pregnancy is an ideal time to provide education on both pregnancy and childhood vaccinations. However, some parents reported dissatisfaction in their therapeutic relationships with healthcare professionals. As a result, parents can resort to their own information seeking, in the main via social media which has been linked to vaccine refusal. Additionally, some healthcare professionals report feeling inadequately prepared for the role of immunisation promotion and provision. Parental information seeking from non-traditional sources has been shown to result in the acquisition of misinformation, exposure to conspiracy theories, the inevitable loss of vaccine confidence and subsequent vaccine refusal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100062
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Anti-vax
  • Antivaccination movement
  • Mother/father
  • Parent
  • Pregnant women
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Vaccine refusal


Dive into the research topics of 'Decision making in vaccine hesitant parents and pregnant women: An integrative review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this