The study, "Vaccine Education During Pregnancy and Timeliness of Infant Immunization," in the September 2017 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 18), finds that women who receive discouraging advice about vaccines during pregnancy are far less likely to immunize their children according to the recommended schedule. Researchers studied 6,182 mothers with infants in the "Growing Up in New Zealand" child cohort study and, using the immunization records of these infants contained in the National Immunization Register, found that only 57 percent of infants of women who received discouraging information about vaccines were immunized on time. This is lower than the 71 percent of the infants of women who received no immunization information. Among women who received both encouraging and discouraging information, 61 percent immunized on time. Among women who received only positive information about vaccines, 73 percent of infants were immunized on time. Of the women, 30 percent received only encouraging information during their pregnancy, 10 percent both encouraging and discouraging information, 4 percent only discouraging information, and 56 percent recalled receiving no information about immunization Health professionals were the main source of encouraging information, with family and friends being the main source of discouraging information about immunization. Women reported that medical professionals offered encouraging advice about infant immunization almost 100 percent of the time, while dieticians and nutritionists offered encouraging advice only 40 percent of the time, and alternative healthcare providers offered encouraging immunization information only 18 percent of the time. Researchers concluded that it may be necessary to identify those parents who have already received information that discourages them from immunizing their infant and develop immunization promotion strategies specific to this group. Future studies should explore the content of the discouraging information and how best to promote the key child health messages that will enable timely infant immunization.
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