A new study evaluating early childhood vaccination coverage among a nationally representative sample of UK children with and without intellectual disability suggests that children with intellectual disabilities are at an increased risk of vaccine preventable diseases.
Researchers collected information by either parental report or direct cognitive testing of the child using data from the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study (MCS is designed to follow a cohort of more than 18,000 children born in the UK between 2000 and 2002) when children were 9 months, 3 years, 5 years and 14 years old.
The findings published in the journal BMC Public Health revealed lower vaccination coverage rates for children with intellectual disabilities versus those without intellectual disabilities for all vaccinations at all ages (with one exception of MMR coverage at age 5 years). In children with intellectual disabilities, complete coverage rates were significantly lower at ages 9 months (unadjusted prevalence rate ratio [PRR] non-vaccination, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.14-3.60; P<.05 and years prr ci but not at age>
Parental choice, service/administration errors, child unwell at the time of planned vaccination, adverse reactions or health-related contra-indication, family disorganisation and appointment pending were parental reasons among others for non-vaccination.
“Children receiving vaccinations late remain susceptible to vaccine preventable diseases which may jeopardise their own health, the health of younger siblings and may also compromise herd immunity increasing the risk of disease outbreaks,” the authors said.