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Smith, David; Newton, Paul (2017)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Online
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: HT, RA0421
Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (GRT) experience a significantly high number of measles cases and have low levels of MMR immunisation. There is little evidence on why immunisation levels are low; beliefs and practices surrounding the Measles Mumps and Rubella MMR vaccine or the factors that promote or hinder uptake. This paper presents data from 5 focus groups with 16 GRT mothers in Kent South East England. Between them they had 66 children of whom just under half had not received the course of vaccinations. Focus groups explored the issues GRT parents consider when making vaccination decisions in the context of wider social, ideological, material and practical considerations. Four interrelated themes were identified: way of life and access; engaging with healthcare staff; perceptions and evaluations of risk, and strategies to minimise MMR related risks. Our findings provide little support for explanations that emphasise cultural values or practices in shaping immunisation behaviour. Poor service provision, situational constraints related to living circumstances, and multifaceted and severe health issues, which precede and inform decisions over childhood immunisation were more significant in explaining low uptake.
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