Understanding vaccine hesitancy among mothers: the case of a community hit by rubella outbreak

Rhea Jenny A. Ogalesco, Editha G. Cagasan2,Christina A. Gabrillo2 and Milagros C. Bales3


The Philippines has been implementing its Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) for over 40 years now. However, measles outbreaks are still reported. One of the reasons behind this is parental vaccine hesitancy. This study aimed to understand conditions surrounding vaccine hesitancy among mothers in San Antonio, Northern Samar where rubella (German measles) outbreak was reported in 2017. A total of 1 6 mothers and three program implementers served as informants for this study. lt was found that despite the communication strategies used by the EPI program implementers, parental vaccine-hesitancy existed in the municipality. The mothers were considered vaccine-hesitant because of their delay in subjecting their children to measles vaccination. Analysis of the interview transcripts using the Grounded Theory approach revealed a number of conditions surrounding vaccine hesitancy among mothers. These include: (1) preoccupation with household responsibilities, (2) misunderstanding of the information on measles vaccination, (3) influence of social networks on vaccination decisions, and (4) negative perceptions about measles vaccination. The mothers’ hesitancy to subject their children to measles vaccination caused their children to be infected with the disease, and had resulted in an outbreak of rubella in the community. The rubella outbreak eventually led to vaccine uptake when parents realized the importance of
subjecting their children to vaccination and when the government implemented mandatory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

Keywords: Vaccine hesitancy, MMR vaccination, vaccine uptake, EPI program, rubella, measles

Annals of Tropical Research 42(2):113-130(2020)
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