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Child's Immunization Varies with Mother's Age, Education

Mothers of unimmunized infants differ from those with partially immunized infants

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The mothers of infants with incomplete immunizations tend to belong to ethnic minority groups, be economically disadvantaged and have a large family, whereas mothers who choose not to immunize infants are more likely to be aged 40 or above, to be educated to university level or be of black Caribbean ethnicity, according to a British study published in the June 3 issue of BMJ.

Helen Bedford, M.Sc., Ph.D., and colleagues at the Institute of Child Health in London, U.K., analyzed data on 18,488 infants born in the United Kingdom between September 2000 and January 2002, and comprised a representative sample of the population in terms of ethnic diversity and social status. They assessed immunization status when the infants were 9 months old.

In the United Kingdom, 3.3 percent of children are only partially immunized, and 1.1 percent do not have any immunization. In addition to ethnicity, economic status and family size, other maternal factors associated with partial immunization include single or teenage parenthood and smoking during pregnancy. Medical factors were the most commonly cited reason for partial immunization, but attitudes towards immunization was cited most commonly as the reason for avoiding it altogether.

"Mothers of unimmunized infants differ in terms of age and education from those of partially immunized infants. Interventions to reduce incomplete immunization in infancy need different approaches," the authors conclude.

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