Researchers at the Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland, Australia conducted a nation-wide study on the fear of parents regarding childhood vaccinations.
Lead researcher Dr Cassandra Dittman said little was known about the attitudes of the majority of the current generation of Australian parents.
"If we know how parents form their opinions, we can start to look at ways to have respectful and open discussions with them about vaccine safety and effectiveness, if that is what is required," said Dr Dittman.
Many parents were not strongly against or strongly in favor of vaccines but would fit under the category of being 'vaccine hesitant'.
"These are parents who might express hesitancy by delaying vaccines, refusing some vaccines but accepting others, or by vaccinating their child but still feeling concerned or uncertain about the fact that they had done so," she said.
"As a researcher, I know and understand that vaccines work and are safe. But as a parent of a toddler, when I come across the latest emotive story about the risks or side effects of vaccinations, my natural inclination, like any parent, is to worry about 'what if this happened to my child'?"
Dr Dittman said the survey sought to uncover what parents thought about vaccines and their effectiveness and safety, the sources of information they consult and trust when making decisions and how these factors relate to vaccine uptake.
Potentially, the survey could provide information to give health care professionals tools to help parents in their decision-making.