About One in 10 Parents Use Alternate Vaccination Schedule

Non-blacks, those without regular child health care provider use alternative schedule more

MONDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- More than 10 percent of parents of young children follow an alternative vaccination schedule for their child, and approximately a quarter of parents think delaying vaccines is safer or disagree with the recommended schedule, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in Pediatrics.

Amanda F. Dempsey, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues sought to describe the patterns of alternative vaccination schedule use in the United States, and the potential malleability of parents' current vaccination-schedule choices, through an Internet-based survey of parents of children aged 6 months to 6 years. The association between alternative vaccination schedule use and demographic and attitudinal factors was determined in 748 parents who responded.

The investigators found that 13 percent of the parents followed alternative vaccination schedules, of which 53 and 17 percent refused certain and all vaccines, respectively, while 55 percent refused or delayed some vaccines until the child was older. In multivariable models, the only factors that correlated significantly with higher odds of using an alternative schedule were non-black race and not having a regular health care provider for the child. The recommended vaccination schedule was initially followed among a large proportion of alternative vaccinators (30 percent). Of the parents following the recommended vaccination schedule, 28 percent felt that delaying vaccine doses was safer than the schedule they were following, while 22 percent felt that the vaccination schedule recommended by the vaccination experts was not the best vaccination schedule.

"More than one of 10 parents of young children currently use an alternative vaccination schedule," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed a financial relationship with Merck for work on the male human papillomavirus vaccination.

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