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Parental Vaccine Hesitancy and Association With Childhood Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoid, and Acellular Pertussis; Measles, Mumps, and Rubella; Rotavirus; and Combined 7-Series Vaccination

Published:December 07, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2021.08.015

      Introduction

      Parental vaccine hesitancy can be a barrier to routine childhood immunization and contribute to greater risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. This study examines the impact of parental vaccine hesitancy on childhood vaccination rates.

      Methods

      This study assessed the association of parental vaccine hesitancy on child vaccination coverage with ≥4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine; ≥1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine; up-to-date rotavirus vaccine; and combined 7-vaccine series coverage for a sample of children aged 19–35 months using data from the 2018 and 2019 National Immunization Survey-Child (N=7,645). Adjusted differences in multivariable analyses of vaccination coverage were estimated among vaccine hesitant and nonhesitant parents and population attributable risk fraction of hesitancy on undervaccination, defined as not being up to date for each vaccine.

      Results

      Almost a quarter of parents reported being vaccine hesitant, with the highest proportion of vaccine hesitancy among parents of children who are non-Hispanic Black (37.0%) or Hispanic (30.1%), mothers with a high school education or less (31.9%), and households living below the poverty level (35.6%). Childhood vaccination coverage for all vaccines was lower for children of hesitant than nonhesitant parents, and the population attributable fraction of hesitancy on undervaccination ranged from 15% to 25%, with the highest percentage for ≥1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

      Conclusions

      Parental vaccine hesitancy may contribute up to 25% of undervaccination among children aged 19–35 months. Implementation of strategies to address parental vaccine hesitancy is needed to improve vaccination coverage for children and minimize their risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.
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