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Timeliness of Early Childhood Vaccinations and Undervaccination Patterns in Montana

      Introduction

      Early childhood vaccination rates are lower in rural areas than those in urban areas of the U.S. This study's objective is to quantify vaccine timeliness and the prevalence of undervaccination patterns in Montana and to measure the associations between timeliness and series completion by age 24 months.

      Methods

      Using records from January 2015 to November 2019 in Montana's centralized immunization information system, days undervaccinated were calculated for the combined 7-vaccine series. Undervaccination patterns indicative of certain barriers to vaccination, including parental vaccine hesitancy, were identified. Using multivariable log-linked binomial regression, the association between timing of vaccine delay and not completing the combined 7-vaccine series by age 24 months was assessed. Analyses were conducted in March 2020–August 2020.

      Results

      Among 31,422 children, 38.0% received all vaccine doses on time; 24.3% received all doses, but some were received late; and 37.7% had not completed the combined 7-vaccine series. Approximately 18.7% had an undervaccination pattern suggestive of parental vaccine hesitancy, and 19.7% started all series but were missing doses needed for multidose series completion. Although falling behind on vaccinations at any age was associated with failing to complete the combined 7-vaccine series, being late at age 12–15 months had the strongest association (adjusted prevalence ratio=3.73, 95% CI=3.56, 3.91) compared with being on time at age 12–15 months.

      Conclusions

      Fewer than 2 in 5 Montana children were fully vaccinated on time for the combined 7-vaccine series. To increase vaccination rates, initiatives to increase vaccine confidence and remind parents to complete vaccine series are needed.
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