Maternal characteristics associated with vaccination of young children

Pediatrics. 2003 May;111(5 Pt 2):1215-8.


Objective: Mothers can be instrumental in gaining access to vaccination services for their children. This study examines maternal characteristics associated with vaccination in US preschool children.

Methods: We analyzed data from 21 212 children aged 19 to 35 months in the National Immunization Survey. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify maternal characteristics associated with completion of all recommended vaccinations in these children.

Results: Factors most strongly associated with undervaccination included having mothers who were black; had less than a high school education; were divorced, separated, or widowed; had multiple children; were eligible for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) but not participating; or had incomes below 50% of the federal poverty level.

Conclusion: Because most mothers play an important role in their children's vaccination, it is important to address maternal concerns and barriers when developing public health interventions for promoting childhood vaccinations. Encouraging eligible women and their children to participate in the WIC program and providing support and encouragement for immunization to mothers with multiple children may improve early childhood vaccination coverage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aid to Families with Dependent Children / statistics & numerical data
  • Black or African American
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Food Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mothers*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty
  • United States
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*