This article was posted on The Detroit News. Read the full article here.
Most early-childhood vaccinations require multiple doses, but about 1 in 6 toddlers – 17 percent – are not getting all of the needed doses, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Incomplete vaccination leaves children vulnerable to preventable diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, hepatitis and more. Full vaccination, however, also protects others in their communities and is needed “to develop and maintain herd immunity at a population level,” the researchers wrote.
Their findings stem from analysis of vaccination data on 16,365 U.S. children, 19 to 35 months old – considered a nationally representative sample. The data was gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focusing on seven series of vaccines that require one to four doses and protect against multiple diseases.
Overall, almost 73 percent of the children got all required doses, about 10 percent failed to start one or more of the vaccine series, and some 17 percent started but did not complete all their vaccinations. In this last group, most children fell one to three doses short of completing their vaccinations. The reasons varied but included family moves (especially to a different state), insurance problems and lack of transportation to medical providers. Also, children in large families (four or more children) and those in lower-income households were more likely not to have gotten all required doses. The study also notes that some children may have missed vaccine doses because of parental hesitancy.
To ensure that young children get all recommended vaccinations, researchers suggested increasing the use of reminder-recall systems, making vaccines available in locations other than doctors’ offices and spreading word about available support for children in low-income families.