Comprendre la décision vaccinale des parents pour mieux accompagner leurs choix : étude qualitative phénoménologique auprès des parents français

Agnès Oude Engberink, François Carbonnel, Béatrice Lognos, Elodie Million, Marion Vallart, Suzanne Gagnon, Gérard Bourrel


OBJECTIVE: To understand parents' representations based on their own lived experiences and their influence on the decision to vaccinate their children.

METHODS: This was a qualitative, in-depth, phenomenological study using semi-structured interviews with 14 volunteer parents who have children age-eligible for vaccination. The participants were recruited through family doctors in the Montpellier region (France). The methodology is modeled on grounded theory. The data, collected by audio recording, were analyzed using a semio-pragmatic method that brought forth conceptual categories giving meaning to the phenomenon being studied.

RESULTS: Parents are unaware of the diseases for which there are vaccines and express a need for information. A perception of the inequality of the individual in face of the disease and the vaccine greatly influences the parents' vaccination decision. It induces in them a reasoned "sifting" of vaccines and leads them to strike a risk/benefit balance. They trust more in their doctor and their personal experience than in publicized information.

CONCLUSION: Parents' lack of awareness of diseases, even those for which immunization exists, would suggest a need to better inform parents on this matter. Their perception of the inequality of the individual (their child) in face of the disease and the vaccine is the main determinant in their decision to vaccinate. Parents approach immunization in a thoughtful educated way, influenced by such factors as lifestyle, personal experiences and confidence in their doctor. These results make them very "critical" with regard to basic vaccination recommendations.


Public health; general medicine; vaccination decision; qualitative study; phenomenological approach; semio-pragmatic analysis