CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDVM) — A new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine found more than 25% of infants are not receiving common childhood vaccines that protect them from polio, measles, mumps, chickenpox and more.
According to the study, only 72.8% of infants aged 19-35 months had received the full series of the seven recommended vaccines, far below the federal government’s goal of 90%.
UVA researchers said those less likely to complete childhood vaccine series include African American infants, infants born to mothers with less than a high-school education and infants in families with an income below the poverty line.
The School of Medicine found these populations are less likely to vaccinate their children due to access issues and distrust of vaccine efficacy.
WDVM spoke to researcher Rajesh Balkrishnan, who said preventative health is more pertinent now with the timing of the pandemic.
“I think this pandemic has put things in context. We need to start with preventative health and there are ways, such as vaccines, we can prevent the disease from happening in the first place,” explained Balkrishnan.
There is still some good news: researchers found a 30% increase in the overall number of infants getting the full vaccine series during 2009-2018. However, during that time period, disparities in vaccine uptake grew between low-income families and higher-income families, leading us to where we are today.
“Free vaccination coupled with no physician administration fees, linked with potential programs that are frequently accessed by low-income families, could be a potential solution to increase immunization rates,” Balkrishnan said.
To see the full study, click here.