Only 63% Of Children Meet Recommended Vaccination Schedule

Many parents follow an alternative child vaccination schedule
children running in the park
(Precision Vaccinations News)

A new study found a large number of children were not ‘on-schedule’ to complete their initial vaccination schedule.

Being from a low-income family, moving out of state and receiving vaccines from a public facility were linked to not following the recommended schedule.

Published on February 21, 2020, this study reported most children’s (63%) vaccination patterns were consistent with the recommended schedule, but 23 percent followed an alternate pattern, and about 15 percent were in the unknown category.

And, about 42 percent of young children were not up-to-date on vaccinations by 19-35 months, these researchers reported.

These researchers analyzed vaccination data on more than 15,000 children ages 19-35 months from the 2014 National Immunization Survey. They included coverage at birth, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12-19 months, allowing some flexibility when determining whether children were being vaccinated on schedule. 

They also included rotavirus and hepatitis A vaccinations, which typically aren’t included in determining whether children are up to date.

Children were found to be more likely to follow an alternate schedule if they were not the firstborn or if they had moved out of state. 

And, low-income children who were black or multiracial were more likely to follow an alternate schedule, according to the study.

"This combination of factors suggests that many parents in this category may be attempting to adhere to a recommended schedule but, because of external circumstances, fall behind on the appointments required to maintain a recommended schedule," authors wrote.

Children were 4 times more likely to be behind if they were following an alternate schedule and twice as likely to be behind if they had an unknown schedule, when compared to children following the recommended schedule, according to the study.

“Vaccine schedule adherence patterns are strongly associated with up-to-date status, and future research should be focused on identifying the parent actions and circumstances that increase the likelihood of deviating from the recommended schedule,” the authors said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccination schedules for children can be found on this webpage

Ms. Hargreaves and Dr. Frew conducted this work while at Emory University. The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

Address correspondence to Robert A. Bednarczyk, Ph.D., Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail: [email protected].

This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Vaccine Program Office (1VSRNV00000). Dr. Bednarczyk is supported by a grant (K01AI106961) from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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