The role familiarity with science and medicine plays in parents' decision making about enrolling a child in vaccine research
Parental consent to children's participation in vaccine research has resulted in the licensure of essential vaccines. Recruitment to this type of research is typically difficult, however, and many parents decline. In this study, the authors interviewed parents about their decision for or against enrolling their child in a vaccine study. The data analysis suggests that parents' ability to evaluate a vaccine study depends on how attuned they are with science and medicine, either professionally or as consumers of health services. Familiarity does not predispose parents to enrolling their child in research; rather, it is a predictor of parents' confidence in their decision making. Many parents were motivated by altruism and trust, which, if uninformed, can leave the parents prone to exploitation. It is vital to ensure that parents are confident in their judgment of a study and its potential benefit to their child and society.