A recent study (J Pediatr 2015; 166: 151-6) has examined the frequency of “alternative” (non-standard) vaccination schedules among 222,628 children in New York (2009-2011), using a statewide mandatory immunization information system.
- 25% of children followed an non-standard immunization schedule.
- At 9 months of age, children on an non-standard schedule were less likely to be up-to-date (15% compared with 90%, P<0.05).
The authors note that in a separate study that there were “1400 individualized vaccination patterns.” These patterns break down into three: delays of vaccine, selective refusal of specific vaccines, and reduction in the number of vaccines.
In a brief summary, Sarah Long notes that for parents/doctors –“Although their intent is heightened protection of their children/patients from harm, the result is the opposite. Alternative “schedules” are completely untested for immunogenicity or safety.”
One limitation of this study is that it was conducted in New York. There is wide variability in the resistance to vaccination among states.
Bottomline: Their has been an increase in the use of non-standard vaccine schedules. This is contributing to community vulnerability to vaccine preventable diseases.
A related story: “Disneyland” Measles Outbreak (from USA Today) and from NY Times (1/21/15): Measle cases linked to Disneyland (& unvaccinated students). 1/28/15 Measles in Arizona reaches ‘critical point’
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