A population-based cohort study of undervaccination in 8 managed care organizations across the United States
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OBJECTIVES: To examine patterns and trends of undervaccination in children aged 2 to 24 months and to compare health care utilization rates between undervaccinated and age-appropriately vaccinated children. DESIGN: Retrospective matched cohort study. SETTING Eight managed care organizations of the Vaccine Safety Datalink. PARTICIPANTS: Children born between 2004 and 2008. MAIN EXPOSURE: Immunization records were used to calculate the average number of days undervaccinated. Two matched cohorts were created: 1 with children who were undervaccinated for any reason and 1 with children who were undervaccinated because of parental choice. For both cohorts, undervaccinated children were matched to age-appropriately vaccinated children by birth date, managed care organization, and sex. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rates of undervaccination, specific patterns of undervaccination, and health care utilization rates. RESULTS: Of 323 247 children born between 2004 and 2008, 48.7% were undervaccinated for at least 1 day before age 24 months. The prevalence of undervaccination and specific patterns of undervaccination increased over time (P < .001). In a matched cohort analysis, undervaccinated children had lower outpatient visit rates compared with children who were age-appropriately vaccinated (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.89- 0.90). In contrast, undervaccinated children had increased inpatient admission rates compared with age-appropriately vaccinated children (IRR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.18-1.23). In a second matched cohort analysis, children who were undervaccinated because of parental choice had lower rates of outpatient visits (IRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.93-0.95) and emergency department encounters (IRR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.88-0.94) than age-appropriately vaccinated children. CONCLUSIONS: Undervaccination appears to be an increasing trend. Undervaccinated children appear to have different health care utilization patterns compared with age-appropriately vaccinated children.
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