Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 766–773 | Cite as

Postpartum Mothers’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Trust Regarding Vaccination

  • Ann Chen WuEmail author
  • Daryl J. Wisler-Sher
  • Katherine Griswold
  • Eve Colson
  • Eugene D. Shapiro
  • Eric S. Holmboe
  • Andrea L. Benin


Objective To examine attitudes and knowledge about vaccinations in postpartum mothers. Methods This cross-sectional study collected data via written survey to postpartum mothers in a large teaching hospital in Connecticut. We used multivariable analysis to identify mothers who were less trusting with regard to vaccines. Results Of 228 mothers who participated in the study, 29% of mothers worried about vaccinating their infants: 23% were worried the vaccines would not work, 11% were worried the doctor would give the wrong vaccine, and 8% worried that “they” are experimenting when they give vaccines. Mothers reported that the most important reasons to vaccinate were to prevent disease in the baby (74%) and in society (11%). Knowledge about vaccination was poor; e.g., 33% correctly matched chicken pox with varicella vaccine. Mothers who were planning to breastfeed (P = .01), were primiparous (P = .01), or had an income <$40,000 but did not receive support from the women, infants, and children (WIC) program were less trusting with regard to vaccines (P = .03). Although 70% wanted information about vaccines during pregnancy, only 18% reported receiving such information during prenatal care. Conclusion Although the majority of infants receive vaccines, their mothers have concerns and would like to receive immunization information earlier. Mothers who are primiparous, have low family incomes but do not qualify for the WIC program, or are breastfeeding may need special attention to develop a trusting relationship around vaccination. Mothers would benefit from additional knowledge regarding the risks and benefits of vaccines particularly during prenatal care.


Vaccinations Mothers Attitudes Trust Postpartum period 



We would like to thank the mothers who spent their precious postpartum time helping us with this survey. This work was supported in part by a grants from the National Institutes of Health (K24-AI01703, T32-AI07210-23), by the Yale General Clinical Research Centers Program of the National Center for Research Resources, NIH (M01-RR06022), and by the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Chen Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daryl J. Wisler-Sher
    • 2
    • 3
  • Katherine Griswold
    • 4
  • Eve Colson
    • 2
  • Eugene D. Shapiro
    • 2
    • 5
  • Eric S. Holmboe
    • 6
    • 7
  • Andrea L. Benin
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Ambulatory Care and PreventionHarvard Medical School, and Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsColumbia University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Northwestern University School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and the General Clinical Research CenterYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  6. 6.The American Board of Internal MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars ProgramYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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