Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Cynthia D. Connelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chairperson Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Committee Member Kathyann K. Marsh, PhD, RN, Committee Member Ruth Bush, PhD, Committee Member Catherine De Leon, PhD, RN, Committee Member


intent to vaccinate, parent decision-making, parental perception, routine childhood vaccination, trust


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore parents’ views and practices regarding routine childhood vaccination.

Background: Recently, pediatric healthcare providers have reported seeing an alarming increase in the number of families no longer maintaining their child’s recommended vaccination schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes vaccinations as one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements worldwide and recommends routine immunizations for children through adolescents against vaccine-preventable death. A properly vaccinated child protects not only themselves and their immediate family, but the community at large. Despite these advances and notable triumphs, millions of children and adolescents experience a vaccine-preventable death due to their parent or caregiver not immunizing their child. It has become clear parents’ intent to vaccinate, decision-making, perceptions, and vaccine hesitancy have changed post-COVID-19 pandemic and must be examined.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive study using a constructivist approach was used. Participants were parents from a local Jewish temple in southern California, an international adoption agency based in Colorado serving families living across the United States, and a local mom’s group. A combination of snowball sampling and purposive sampling was used to recruit participants and to ensure diverse characteristics. Data were collected from participants through individual, semi-structured interview via Zoom, as none of the participants who lived locally wanted to interview in person. Data analysis was completed using inductive thematic analysis.

Findings: Parental decision-making for routine childhood vaccinations was expressed in the five themes that emerged: (a) Trust affects decision-making, (b) protecting against vaccine preventable diseases, (c) frustration with others’ choices, and (d) COVID-19 pandemic related concerns. Some parents expressed a newfound questioning of their own previous deep-seated opinions about vaccinations. Although guided interview questions did not address the COVID-19 pandemic, mention of both the pandemic as well as the COVID-19 vaccine were common in participant responses. Discussing childhood vaccinations is now synonymous with discussing the COVID-19 vaccine. In turn, study findings were congruent with the current literature.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only



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