Maternal Instinct – A Powerful Force to Tap into When Deciding to Vaccinate Your Child

Maternal Instinct Vaccinate Child
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Recently, preliminary results of a New Zealand study about what parents think about vaccination were discussed on an ‘in house’ Health New Zealand webinar. This study, funded by a Project Grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), is supporting the development of the Vaccine Barriers Assessment Tool (VBAT) which aims to help healthcare professionals target interventions to increase vaccination uptake. The thrust of VBAT is that any resistance or questions are to be batted away as ignorant, and dangerous for children. 

The initial results involve 148 Maori parents of children under 5 years of age.

One slide in particular was revealing and deserves comment. The statement being tested was “I feel distressed thinking about getting my child vaccinated” and parents had to respond with their level of agreement or disagreement.

“I feel distressed thinking about getting my child vaccinated”


50% of parents ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement, and another 33.8% ‘slightly agreed’ with this statement.  So, in total 83.8% of parents felt distressed thinking about getting their child vaccinated.

Maternal Instinct Vaccinate Child
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83.8% of respondents said they feel distressed when thinking about vaccinating their child


This is significant.  The intuition, gut feeling, instinct of these parents is screaming at some of them, whispering to others.  Something inside of them feels distraught at the thought of having their babies injected with the vaccines.

Gut feeling, intuition, maternal instinct, sixth sense, that little voice inside, however it is labelled, is hugely important in the survival of the human race.  We override it at our peril.

Too much conflicting information and too many opposing voices can be confusing and exhausting to deal with.  Sometimes the best thing to do if overwhelmed with information is to take a step back and ask ‘What feels right to me?’ or ‘What is my inner wisdom telling me?’

We all have a ‘truth detector’ inside of us.  It is finely tuned in some people and buried in others.

Our advice is to become informed by listening to a variety of voices from more than one source.  These could be ‘experts’ with different points of view and could be other parents who have gone through the experience before you who have information to share. 

Be open to hearing several sides of an argument or discussion.  However, if uncertain,

trust your instincts


The right to decline medical treatment, as enshrined in NZ Bill of Rights Act, Health and Disability Commissioner Code of Rights and MCNZ statement on Informed Consent, does not require qualification or explanation.  A gut feeling or maternal instinct is, or should be, a sufficient reason for saying ‘no’, or waiting, and any decision – whether or not it may appear unreasonable, wrong or potentially dangerous to another – should be respected.

Other interesting preliminary findings were that 78% of parents thought that children received too many vaccines in the first 2 years of life and 30% of parents thought it was better for their children to develop natural immunity than get a vaccine.

At the same time as parents are trusting less and wanting more information, Dr Tedros of the WHO is threatening ‘anti-vaxxers’, who could equally be called ‘people who want to see the science rather than trust the experts‘, stating:

“But you know the serious challenge that is posed by anti-vaxxers, and I think we need to strategise to really push back.  Because vaccines work, vaccines effect (sic) adults and we have the science, evidence on our side, so I think it’s time to be more aggressive in pushing back on anti-vaxxers.  I think they used covid as an opportunity, and you know all the havoc they are creating.” 

It is interesting to note that the covid response, which included mandatory vaccinations, has made some eminent doctors (Dr Pierre Kory, Dr Peter McCullough) look more closely at the childhood vaccines which they had assumed were supported by robust evidence.  When they have actually looked at the science underpinning the ever-expanding childhood vaccine schedule, they have found it is sadly lacking.  This is known by those tasked with promoting vaccination.  Perhaps this is what parents know intuitively.

For more information about why parental intuition may be manifesting as distress about getting their child vaccinated, see what the Vaccine Confidence Project thinks about vaccine safety.

We need much more investment in vaccine safety science.

We have a very wobbly health professional front line.

A lot of the concern is not misinformation.‘​​​​​​​


Further Reading: Vaccine Safety – What is the Science Behind Childhood Vaccinations?

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