Forgone vaccination during childhood and adolescence: Findings of a statewide survey of parents

Melissa B. Gilkey, Annie Laurie McRee, Noel T. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: Widespread immunization confers both individual- and community-level protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. To better understand vaccine hesitancy, we assessed correlates of forgone vaccination for children and adolescents. Method: We analyzed weighted data from the 2010 Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program survey of North Carolina parents (n= 1,847) of children ages 1-17. Results: Overall, 12% of parents reported having refused or delayed a vaccine for their child. Forgone vaccination was more common for young children than for teenagers (16% versus 8%) and for children born before rather than on/after their due dates (16% versus 10%). Parents with high (versus low) scores on an index of healthy feeding practices were also more likely to report forgone vaccination (17% versus 5%). The most common reason for forgoing vaccines was concern about safety (34%). Other reasons included believing the child did not need (18%) or was too young (13%) for the vaccine, or that the child was sick (10%). Conclusion: Forgoing vaccines is more common among parents who are socially advantaged and highly attentive to their children's health in other areas such as nutrition. Providers should reassure parents of premature or sick children that such circumstances are not typically contraindications to vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-206
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline , the Cancer Control Education Program at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center ( R25 CA57726 ), and a NRSA in Primary Medical Care at the University of Minnesota ( T32HP22239 ). NB has received HPV vaccine-related grants from or been on advisory boards for GlaxoSmithKline and Merck.


  • Adolescent health
  • Child health
  • North Carolina
  • Vaccination/statistics and numerical data
  • Vaccine hesitancy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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