Childhood vaccine status and correlation with common nonvaccine‐preventable illnesses

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Vaccines have long been considered one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the last century (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2002). With the introduction of vaccines, smallpox has been eradicated globally and the rates of other communicable diseases, such as polio and measles, have drastically reduced (Andre et al., 2008; Epling, Savoy, Temte, Schoof, & Campos‐Outcalt, 2014). During the last 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated the childhood immunization schedule to include newer vaccines such as PCV‐13 and meningococcal. As a result, children receive multiple vaccinations during each well‐child visit, especially in their first year of life leading to a balance of ensuring necessary vaccines and minimizing parental and child discomfort and stress (Bakhache et al., 2013). The Healthy People 2020 goal is for a vaccination rate of 80% or higher for all children in the United States (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [ODPHP], 2015).
A current trend however is numerous parental refusals of vaccinations for their children or requests for partial administration (Connors et al., 2012; Gust, Darling, Kennedy, & Schwartz, 2008; Yaqub, Castle‐Clarke, Sevdalis, & Chataway, 2014). One of the prevalent parental reasons for this decision relates to their perceived uncertainty about both short‐term and long‐term immune system effects with the large volume of vaccines administered (Bakhache et al., 2013; Byström, Lindstrand, Likhite, Butler, & Emmelin, 2014). This perceived uncertainty has led to an ever increasing group of people making alternative choices to the immunization schedule and in some cases choosing to not vaccinate their children at all. With this trend we have seen the reoccurrence of what were previously considered eradicated diseases, such as measles. Previous studies have looked at barriers to vaccination and Byström et al. (2014) found that parents highlighted the need for vaccine information from sources unbiased from pharmalogical company influence. Some parents have unsubstantiated concerns about the effect of multiple immunizations on their children's immune system. These parents have concerns that it could make their children more susceptible to childhood illnesses. There is little research about the effect of immunizations on other childhood illnesses. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a difference in incidence of common childhood illnesses dependent on vaccination status.

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