Reasons Parents Exempt Children From Receiving Immunizations


communicable diseases, environmental health, safety, immunizations, parent, family


School nurses are on the front lines of educational efforts to promote childhood vaccinations. However, some parents still choose to exempt their children from receiving vaccinations for personal reasons. Studying the beliefs of parents who exempt vaccinations allows health care workers, including school nurses, to better understand parental concerns which may, in turn, help prepare school nurses for effective communication with these parents. The objective of the study was to explore personal beliefs of parents living in Utah, who exempted their children from receiving vaccinations. A cross-sectional, descriptive design was implemented. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 287 parents responding to an open-ended question about why they exempted their children from receiving at least one vaccination. The qualitative data included parental comments, concerns, or suggestions regarding childhood vaccinations. Five categories were identified regarding reasons for personal exemptions: parental perceptions, health care systems issues, chronic disease concerns, immune system concerns, adverse reaction concerns and other reasons not classified. The number of parents refusing childhood vaccinations remains relatively low; however, despite public health efforts, the percentage increases each year.

Original Publication Citation

Luthy, K. E., Beckstrand, R. L., Callister, L. C., & Cahoon, S.* (2012). Reasons parents exempt children from receiving immunizations. Journal of School Nursing, 28(2), 153-160.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The Journal of School Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor