A new survey has found that children with parents in the military have lower vaccination rates than other kids.
The survey, which was conducted by the researchers from the University of California, found that children in military families were less likely to be up to date with their vaccinations than other U.S. children.
Angela C. Dunn, MD, MPH, Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at the University of California, and the lead author of the study, said, “Military children did not have documentation of full vaccination status as frequently as non-military. We don’t know if it’s the result of the information that providers had access to or the actual vaccination status.”
For their study, the researchers used data from the National Immunization Survey (NIS), an annual phone interview that asks parents about their kids’ vaccinations and then asks them to provide contact information for their pediatrician to verify which shots were administered. It is a multistage, random-digit dialing survey that collected provider data on 105,129 children (67.8% of the sample) using responses from parents or caregivers. However, only 2.8% of the study population (n=3,421) were defined as military dependents.
The researchers looked at whether children were up-to-date on all recommended vaccines up to age three. They found that in military families, 28% of children were not current with their vaccinations compared to 21.1% of all other children. The researchers added that the mobility inherent in military life and the lack of a single vaccine registry for all branches of the armed services might be contributing to incomplete records.
The researchers added that in addition to being military dependents, factors that made kids less likely to be up-to-date on vaccines included being younger than 30 months, having mothers without a college degree or unmarried parents, and moving from state to state or receiving vaccines from more than one health care provider.
The findings were published in the Pediatrics journal.