More than one-third of the children in the US miss out on the vaccine schedule recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increasing the burden on healthcare system as well as making children vulnerable to a host of opportunistic infections, says a new study.
Dr. Robert Bednarczyk, assistant professor at Emory University and the lead author of the study, believes the gap in vaccination increases the annual cost of immunization despite the fact that children follow up with the schedule later in life. He says, “It is notable that even for children who did not adhere to the recommended schedule, some did reach up-to-date status in childhood, but at the cost of additional vaccination visits – approximately three additional visits were needed to get to up-to-date status.”
Vaccine delays are common throughout the world. As per World Health Organization (WHO), 20 million children around the world miss their vaccines for various reasons. A vaccine is an efficient way of preventing disease in children; it wards off measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis, influenza, typhoid, mumps, rabies, TB, hepatitis A, B, E and cholera etc.
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has a pattern for vaccination that could prevent diseases. The data for this research was obtained from the National Immunization Survey 2014 and the results were categorized in recommended alternate and unknown vaccination patterns. Researcher Glen Nowak et al concluded that 63% of children aged 19 to 35 months took vaccine according to ACIP recommended dosage whereas 23% skipped at least one vaccine dosage. 14% followed the irregular and unknown schedule as opposed to ACIP’s recommendations.
Most of the children do get vaccinated by the age of two against 14 deadly diseases. But if the non-vaccinated number of children kept on increasing, it would eventually lead to a huge burden on the health care infrastructure of the USA as well increasing vaccine-preventable diseases in number.
CDC recommends that all children be vaccinated from birth to six years of life with DTaP, RV, Hib, PCV13, IPV, MMR, and Hep A & B vaccinations. These children should also receive influenza vaccine annually.
The study noticed several factors causing delay in vaccination. Many parents hesitate from injecting too many vaccines at one time. Other factors such as race, ethnicity, education and poverty status also affect vaccine uptake.
Immunization prevents 2-3 million deaths per year. However, federal data reveals that 19.4 million children didn’t receive vaccination in 2014, but what’s heartening is the fact that more than 90% of the countries now follow HPV vaccination.
In US, the vaccination number has gone up three times more than what it was before. According to CDC, the number of recommended vaccines were 10 doses in 1983 which increased up to 35 doses by 2015. The biggest and persistent cause of poor immunization among US children is poverty.
A recent study has revealed that 40% of children did not take a single dose of rotavirus vaccine, a treatment used to kill rotavirus infection that results in severe diarrhea among children.
Delayed vaccination is very common in US. It can cause fever related seizures and other infectious diseases. About 44.8% of the US parents are responsible for the delayed vaccination because of safety issues and 36.1% of parents hold up vaccination because of the illness of the children.
The report was published in the journal American Academy of Pediatrics.