Parental decision making about childhood vaccinations is complex and multidimensional. There is a perception that the number of parents having concerns regarding childhood vaccinations has been increasing in Canada. The aim of this study was to explore vaccine hesitancy among Canadian parents and to examine factors associated with a parent’s intention to vaccinate his/her child. Informed by the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) this study assesses potential associations between parents’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs toward vaccination and their intention to vaccinate their child in the future. A national sample of Canadian parents of children aged 24–59 months (N = 2013) was surveyed using an online survey methodology. Half of the surveyed parents strongly intended to have their child vaccinated in the future.
Parents’ information needs and searches as well as parents’ trust in different institutions were associated with intention to vaccinate. Parents who reported having frequently looked for vaccine information, who considered that it was their role as parents to question vaccines, or who had previously experienced difficulty accessing vaccination services were less likely to strongly intend to vaccinate their child in the future. Parents who had a high level of trust in doctors and public health were most likely to strongly intend to vaccinate their child. Results of the multivariate analysis showed that positive attitudes (aOR = 8.0; 95% CI: 6.0, 10.4), higher perceived social support (aOR = 3.0; 95% CI: 2.3, 3.93), and higher perceived behavioural control (aOR = 1.8; 95% CI: 1.4, 2.43) were associated with parents’ intention to vaccinate their child. Findings of this study suggest that trust-building interventions that promote pro-vaccine social norms and that address negative attitudes toward vaccination could enhance vaccine acceptance among Canadian parents.