Objective: To explore pediatric clinicians’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceived social norms about the impact of delayed vaccine schedules on the clinical management of their patients. Methods: We conducted 30 semi-structured qualitative interviews with academic (Infectious Diseases, Emergency Medicine) and community pediatric clinicians (General Pediatrics) to explore clinicians’ perspectives on how delayed schedules influence their clinical management of patients. The interview guide was based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. We analyzed interview transcripts using both an inductive and deductive thematic approach. Results: The pediatric clinicians in our study overwhelmingly supported the recommended schedule, sought guidance on approaches to navigating conversations with vaccine hesitant families, and desired more evidence to effectively promote on-time vaccination. Clinicians described how delayed schedules have consequences for sick children (e.g., increased antibiotics, laboratory tests, emergency department visits) and healthy children (e.g., increased vaccine visits, out-of-pocket costs, fears among children receiving frequent shots). Clinicians stated that delayed schedules also negatively impact pediatric practices (e.g., increased time counseling patients, staff burden, clogged clinic space, unpredictable vaccine utilization, costs). Conclusions: Pediatric clinicians perceive that delayed vaccine schedules negatively affect patients, pediatric practices, the healthcare system, and society. Future research should quantify the consequences of delayed schedules and identify strategies that promote vaccine adherence. Results from future studies can better support clinician-parent conversations about vaccine hesitancy, guide decision-makers about practice-level approaches to vaccine schedules, and advise payors and policymakers regarding vaccine-related policies.
- Alternative vaccine schedules
- Healthcare utilization
- Semi-structured interviews
- Vaccine hesitancy