Quarter of moms-to-be may not follow vaccination schedule

A new study found that 75 percent of first-time expectant mothers plan to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their children.

That’s great. But what about the other 25 percent?

Well, 10.5 percent plan to spread out the schedule (that is, create their own timeline, rather than follow the one recommended by medical providers); 4 percent plan to have their child receive some but not all of the recommended vaccines; and another 10.5 percent hadn’t decided on vaccinations plans by their second trimester of pregnancy.

The majority of those who planned to delay the recommended vaccinations or were undecided said they relied on Internet searches – not medical providers – for vaccine information, according to the study.

And, as it turns out, they were the only ones relying on Internet searches. The top sources for childhood vaccine information among all of the women participating in the study were Internet searches (36 percent), family (27 percent), health care provider (22.5 percent), online pregnancy sites (19 percent), friends (17 percent) and online health sites (13.5 percent).

The researchers asked the pregnant women some other interesting questions related to their beliefs about childhood vaccines. Here are some of the highlights:

–          About 88 percent believe vaccines prevent potentially deadly diseases.

–          About 87 percent believe vaccine side effects are very minor (soreness at injection site, fussiness or low-grade fever).

–          About 85 percent believe the benefits from vaccines outweigh the risks.

–          About 80 percent believe vaccines are well tested for safety.

–          Only 74 percent believe getting their baby vaccinated also protects other children who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated.

–          Only 62 percent believe scientific studies show no relationship between vaccines and autism.

–          Only 54 percent believe a baby’s immune system can handle several vaccines at one time.

“The findings provide support for expanded efforts to provide vaccine-related information to expectant mothers,” the researchers concluded. “Even though infant immunizations are outside an OB/GYN or midwife’s scope of practice, results here suggest finding or creating ways to assist OB/GYNs and midwives in directing expectant mothers to vaccine and receiving immunization information from other reliable and trusted sources could help strengthen vaccine education efforts and promote immunization.”

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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