A new study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology suggests that children born to mothers with mental illness have a significantly lower likelihood of receiving vaccinations during the first five years of life.
Researchers at the University of Manchester's Centre for Women’s Mental Health analysed data from ~480,000 mothers and children followed up to the age of five years. The data were from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.
The findings showed that the children born to women with depression and psychotic illnesses had a 14 per cent lower likelihood of receiving necessary vaccinations at two years, compared with children born to unaffected women. Furthermore, children born to women with alcohol and substance misuse disorders had a 50 per cent lower likelihood of receiving necessary vaccinations at two years, compared with children born to unaffected women.
According to the authors, these findings could have crucial implications for the uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine, which may possibly become available in 18 months from now. They also add to the increasing global concern regarding the general uptake of vaccinations, particularly, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Dr Matthias Pierce, a research fellow at the Centre for Women’s Mental Health Research, said: "For the first time, our study provides us with robust evidence that is needed to tailor a public health campaign about vaccinations to this key vulnerable group in order to reduce the risks of what are, after all, preventable diseases."