Children of Military Families Less Likely to be Vaccinated on Time, Putting Them at Risk for Deadly Diseases

The child immunization schedule has been carefully designed so children receive each vaccine when they are the most vulnerable and when the vaccinations produce the best response from their immune systems. Delaying vaccines means delaying protection from diseases. However, for highly mobile families, such as those in the military, following a vaccination schedule can be difficult.

For the study, "Childhood Vaccination Coverage Rates Among Military Dependents in the United States," in the May 2015 issue of Pediatrics (published online April 13), researchers examined records of 3,421 military children ages 19 to 35 months and found 28 percent weren't up to date on their vaccinations (excluding Haemophilus influenzae type b), compared to 21.1 percent of other children.

Military children were also more likely to be incompletely vaccinated. Children who were military dependents who were non-Hispanic black or who were younger than 30 months of age were at a significantly higher risk of not being up to date.

The study authors conclude the high mobility rate of military families, a lack of military–wide childhood immunization registration, and incomplete documentation of vaccines could contribute to the lower vaccination rates among this group of children.

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4/13/2015 12:15 AM