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Advances in Preventive Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 175694, 7 pages
Research Article

Factors That Influence Vaccination Decision-Making by Parents Who Visit an Anthroposophical Child Welfare Center: A Focus Group Study

1Center for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
2Department of Work and Social Psychology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
3Healthy Living, TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), P.O. Box 2215, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 20 August 2012; Revised 22 October 2012; Accepted 24 October 2012

Academic Editor: John Iskander

Copyright © 2012 Irene A. Harmsen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In recent years, parents have become more disparaging towards childhood vaccination. One group that is critical about the National Immunization Program (NIP) and participates less comprises parents with an anthroposophical worldview. Despite the fact that various studies have identified anthroposophists as critical parents with lower vaccination coverage, no research has been done to explore the beliefs underlying their childhood vaccination decision-making. We conducted a qualitative study using three focus groups ( ) of parents who visit an anthroposophical child welfare center. Our findings show that participants did not refuse all vaccinations within the Dutch NIP, but mostly refused the Mumps, Measles, and Rubella (MMR) vaccination. Vaccination decisions are influenced by participants’ lifestyle, perception of health, beliefs about childhood diseases, perceptions about the risks of diseases, perceptions about vaccine effectiveness and vaccine components, and trust in institutions. Parents indicated that they felt a need for more information. Sufficient references should be provided to sources containing more information about childhood vaccination, especially about the effectiveness of vaccines and vaccine components and the risks, such as possible side effects and benefits of vaccination. This may satisfy parents’ information needs and enable them to make a sufficiently informed choice whether or not to vaccinate their child.