Rates and Characteristics of Un-Vaccinated Children in the United States: Reaching Parents Who Choose Not to Vaccinate Their Children

Laura Blakeslee, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Recent localized outbreaks of many childhood diseases (measles, mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox) in the United States provide evidence that rates of un-vaccinated children are too high to provide herd-immunity. Yet little research has been conducted to understand rates and characteristics of un-vaccinated children and the families who deliberately choose not to vaccinate them. Using nationally representative data from the National Immunization Survey between 2002 and 2007, I examine whether the proportion of un-vaccinated children (1) increased significantly over these six years, and (2) increased in some communities more than others. My results suggest un-vaccinated children have recently become a more diverse population (by race/ethnicity, socio-economic status and geography). Understanding trends in the rates, characteristics and distribution of un-vaccinated children is the first step towards reducing the likelihood of epidemics by developing policies specifically aimed at informing parents about the importance of immunizations.

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Presented in Poster Session 1