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Maternal attitudes to preschool immunisations among ethnic minority groups

Condon, Louise


Louise Condon


Objectives: To explore the attitudes of ethnic minority parents to preschool immunisations, particularly first MMR (measles, mumps and rubella vaccination). Design: Focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 21 Pakistani, Somali and Afro-Caribbean mothers of infants aged 16 months to 3 years. Focus groups were held in the first language of participants. Setting and Method: Focus groups were held at an inner-city health centre and individual interviews in participants' own homes between November 2000 and March 2001. Results: All women interviewed had a positive attitude to immunisation. They saw the diseases immunised against as dangerous and thought that their children could catch these diseases and be harmed by them. Catching infectious diseases was considered far more dangerous than immunisation. Some element of risk was accepted as inevitable within life. The three ethnic groups had different exposure to media publicity about the risks of MMR, largely linked to command of English. Pakistani women believed that health professionals gave them the best advice about childhood immunisation, but Afro-Caribbean and Somali women expressed a desire for more information from health professionals, particularly written information about immunisation which is inclusive of Black people and available in translation. Conclusions: This small qualitative study suggests that ethnic minority parents perceive the benefits of childhood immunisation as greatly outweighing the risks. The parents interviewed had not been significantly affected by adverse media publicity about immunisation, and saw the immunisation programme as benign state provision in the best interests of their children.


Condon, L. (2002). Maternal attitudes to preschool immunisations among ethnic minority groups. Health Education Journal, 61(2), 180-189.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Publication Date Jan 1, 2002
Journal Health Education Journal
Print ISSN 0017-8969
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 61
Issue 2
Pages 180-189
Keywords pre-school immunisations, ethnic minorities
Public URL
Publisher URL
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