Balkrishnan research group finds significant disparities in pediatric vaccinations in the United States

March 18, 2021 by wdw7m@virginia.edu

New research led by Rajesh Balkrishnan, PhD, Professor of Public Health Sciences at UVA School of Medicine, finds that significant disparities still exist in protecting infants from preventable chronic diseases in the United States. Findings of this research have been published in the journal Health Equity. 

Using the National Health Interview Survey data from 2009-2018, the authors examined the rate of completion of the complete seven vaccine series in the United States for a decade.  They found that the national seven-vaccine series rate was 72.8%, well short of the healthy people 2020 target of 90%. African American infants, infants born to mothers with less than high school education, and infants in families with an income below poverty were less likely to get the complete series.

“These findings highlight significant disparities still exist in protecting infants from preventable diseases in the United States. These findings are particularly important in the context of the current Covid pandemic. Particular attention needs to be paid to vulnerable populations in ensuring the availability and access to important life-saving vaccines,” Dr. Balkrishnan commented. Other authors included Ansh Kulkarni, research trainee and Raj Desai, research analyst in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Dr.Héctor E. Alcalá from Stony Brook University. The full paper can be accessed online at: https://doi.org/10.1089/heq.2020.0127