Perceptions of personal belief vaccine exemption policy: A survey of Arizona vaccine providers

Steven D. Haenchen, Elizabeth T. Jacobs, Kristin N. Bratton, Aubri S. Carman, Eyal Oren, Heidi L. Pottinger, Jessica A. Regan, Kacey C. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: As exemptions to school-entry requirements rise, vaccination rates in Arizona school children are approaching levels that may threaten public health. Understanding the interactions physicians have with vaccine-hesitant parents, as well as the opinions physicians hold regarding vaccination, exemption, and exemption policies, are critical to our understanding of, and ability to affect, vaccination exemption rates among children. Methods: Survey responses were elicited from practitioners listed in The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and the Arizona Medical Association databases using a multi-pronged recruitment approach. Respondents provided data regarding their practice, comfort with parental refusal of individual vaccines, opinions about the beliefs held by parents that seek exemptions, parent education strategies, issues regarding providing care to unvaccinated children, and potential changes to Arizona policy. Results: A total of 152 practitioners providing care to a wide geographic and economic population of Arizona responded to the survey. Respondents were generally strong advocates of all immunizations but were more accepting of parents' desires to refuse hepatitis B and rotavirus vaccines. Almost all providers indicated that they see patients whose parents request to refuse or delay from vaccinations at least occasionally (88% and 97%, respectively). Only 37% of respondents indicated that they would be supportive of a policy requiring them to sign off on a parent's decision to refuse vaccination. Conclusions: Vaccination providers in Arizona are generally very supportive of childhood immunizations but have varying comfort with exemption from individual vaccines. Responding providers tended to not support a requirement for a physician's signature for vaccine exemptions due to varying concerns regarding the implementation of such a practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3630-3635
Number of pages6
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jun 17 2014


  • Family practice
  • Immunization
  • Pediatrics
  • Policy
  • Vaccine exemption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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