MONDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Oregon has seen a sharp rise in the number of parents who are delaying infant vaccinations, a trend that experts warn raises the risk of outbreaks of serious, even deadly, diseases.
Some 9.5 percent of Portland-area parents consistently did not follow the recommended vaccine schedule for their infants between birth and 9 months in 2009, up from 2.5 percent in 2006, a new study finds. Parents were considered consistent "shot limiters" if they never let their kids get more than one or two shots at a time.
While many people who limit shots or follow "alternative" vaccine schedules plan to eventually get all the shots, many don't follow through, according to the study.
By 9 months, infants whose parents were "shot limiters" had an average 6.4 injections compared to 10.4 injections for kids whose parents adhere to the schedule, the study found. Followed to 19 months, the children of "shot limiters" still hadn't caught up, and were less likely to be vaccinated against chicken pox, measles-mumps-rubella and hepatitis A.
"There is no benefit to spacing out shots or getting fewer shots per visit," said study author Steve Robison, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Sentinel Immunization Surveillance region, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine monitoring program. "It is a very carefully constructed schedule intended to provide the most benefit when these kids need it."
It's unknown if the Portland area is reflective of the nation, but experts said there is likely a lot of variation across the country, depending on regional attitudes, socioeconomic status and other factors.
The study, published online June 18, will appear in the July print issue of Pediatrics.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices publishes and periodically updates a recommended schedule of childhood vaccines.'/>"/>
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