Immunization Coverage Among Juvenile Justice Detainees

J Correct Health Care. 2015 Jul;21(3):265-75. doi: 10.1177/0885066615587790.


This study sought to (1) quantify the baseline immunization coverage of adolescents entering the juvenile justice system and (2) assess the effect of detention-based care on immunization coverage in youth. A cross-sectional retrospective chart review was performed of 279 adolescents detained at a large juvenile detention facility. Only 3% of adolescents had received all study immunizations prior to detention. Before detention, immunization coverage was significantly lower than that for the general adolescent population for all vaccines except the first doses of hepatitis A and varicella-zoster virus vaccines. Subsequent to detention, most individual immunization coverage levels increased and were significantly higher than in the general adolescent population. The routine administration of immunizations in the juvenile justice setting can help detained youth achieve levels of immunization coverage similar to their nondetained peers.

Keywords: adolescents; immunization; juvenile justice; vaccination.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • California
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult