Why Turkish Parents Refuse Childhood Vaccination? A Qualitative Study

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Aslan S., Ozkara A., Kasim I., AKSOY H.

Archives of Iranian Medicine, vol.26, no.5, pp.267-274, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.34172/aim.2023.41
  • Journal Name: Archives of Iranian Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Index Islamicus, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.267-274
  • Keywords: Antivaccination movement, Infectious diseases, Parents
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Anti-vaccination is spreading among parents. In 2017, 23 000 families in Turkey refused vaccinations for their children. Meanwhile an increase in infectious diseases was observed, which might be caused by vaccination rejection. The reasons why families do not vaccinate their children may be very different, such as side effects, or advocation for "healthy life" by gurus. However, the real reasons for vaccine refusal are unknown. Our aim is to determine the reasons for anti-vaccination in Turkey. Methods: In order to reveal the real reasons for not taking the vaccine, we planned to conduct interviews with the representatives of the vaccine rejection group using qualitative research methodology with the "grounded theory" method. We searched some anti-vaccination blogs to find candidates for interviews. Within the scope of our study, parental concerns about vaccinations were classified by analyzing the data obtained from semi-structured questions and interviews recorded with voice recorders in face-to-face interviews with 21 parents in 13 cities of Turkey. Results: The obtained findings were classified under the headings of ''mistrust'', ''vaccine efficacy-importance'', ''decision-making processes - bases'', and ''law-ethics''. Mistrust was the main theme, almost singularly, as the most important reason for vaccine rejection. The salient reasons for mistrusts were: Companies which produce vaccines especially international companies because of conspiratory beliefs; health authorities, because of the belief about non-transparency in epidemiologic data, immunization council etc. and healthcare professionals, because of their non-communicative and non-concerned attitude. Conclusion: Mistrust is hard to overcome. The beliefs of the patients cannot be easily changed. As a result of our study, we made some recommendations for health authorities, healthcare professionals, companies and other related stakeholders.