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1.  Disparities between white and African-American children in immunization coverage. 
INTRODUCTION: A recent study has shown that the national-scale difference in immunization coverage between non-Hispanic white (abbreviated "white") and non-Hispanic African-American (abbreviated "African-American") children aged 19-35 months in the United States has increased by about 1 percentage point annually. We examined how this widening gap differs with geography and income. METHODS: We used data from the National Immunization Survey, 1998-2003, a national telephone survey. We examined differences between white and African-American children in immunization coverage within income groups (at or above versus below the federal poverty level) for each census region (northeast, south, midwest and west). We tested the hypothesis of constant disparity over time. RESULTS: Among households at or above the federal poverty level in the northeast census region, disparity is widening (white coverage minus African-American coverage was -0.5 in 1998 but 15.5 in 2003). Among household at or above the federal poverty level in the midwest census region, disparity is narrowing (white coverage minus African-American coverage was 13.9 in 1998 but 2.5 in 2003). We found no significant evidence of a trend in other groups. CONCLUSIONS: Widening national-level disparity in immunization coverage is primarily attributable to trends in the northeast census region. Addressing the widening disparity in coverage requires new strategies that consider current social and economic contexts.
PMCID: PMC2595076  PMID: 16708496
2.  Impact of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on immunization coverage among infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:43.
The introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to the U.S. recommended childhood immunization schedule in the year 2000 added three injections to the number of vaccinations a child is expected to receive during the first year of life. Surveys have suggested that the addition of PCV has led some immunization providers to move other routine childhood vaccinations to later ages, which could increase the possibility of missing these vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether introduction of PCV affected immunization coverage for recommended childhood vaccinations among 13-month olds in four large provider groups.
In this retrospective cohort study, we analyzed computerized data on vaccinations for 33,319 children in four large provider groups before and after the introduction of PCV. The primary outcome was whether the child was up to date for all non-PCV recommended vaccinations at 13 months of age. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between PCV introduction and the primary outcome. The secondary outcome was the number of days spent underimmunized by 13 months. The association between PCV introduction and the secondary outcome was evaluated using a two-part modelling approach using logistic and negative binomial regression.
Overall, 93% of children were up-to-date at 13 months, and 70% received all non-PCV vaccinations without any delay. Among the entire study population, immunization coverage was maintained or slightly increased from the pre-PCV to post-PCV periods. After multivariate adjustment, children born after PCV entered routine use were less likely to be up-to-date at 13 months in one provider group (Group C: OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3 – 0.8) and were less likely to have received all vaccine doses without any delay in two Groups (Group B: OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.3 – 0.6; Group C: OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.4 – 0.7). This represented 3% fewer children in Group C who were up-to-date and 14% (Group C) to 16% (Group B) fewer children who spent no time underimmunized at 13 months after PCV entered routine use compared to the pre-PCV baseline. Some disruptions in immunization delivery were also observed concurrent with temporary recommendations to suspend the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine, preceding the introduction of PCV.
These findings suggest that the introduction of PCV did not harm overall immunization coverage rates in populations with good access to primary care. However, we did observe some disruptions in the timely delivery of other vaccines coincident with the introduction of PCV and the suspension of the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine. This study highlights the need for continued vigilance in coming years as the U.S. introduces new childhood vaccines and policies that may change the timing of existing vaccines.
PMCID: PMC1314888  PMID: 16313673
3.  Factors associated with underimmunization at 3 months of age in four medically underserved areas. 
Public Health Reports  2004;119(5):479-485.
OBJECTIVE: Risk factors for underimmunization at 3 months of age are not well described. This study examines coverage rates and factors associated with under-immunization at 3 months of age in four medically underserved areas. METHODS: During 1997-1998, cross-sectional household surveys using a two-stage cluster sample design were conducted in four federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. Respondents were parents or caregivers of children ages 12-35 months: 847 from northern Manhattan, 843 from Detroit, 771 from San Diego, and 1,091 from rural Colorado. A child was considered up-to-date (UTD) with vaccinations at 3 months of age if documentation of receipt of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type B, and hepatitis B vaccines was obtained from a provider or a hand-held vaccination card, or both. RESULTS: Household response rates ranged from 79% to 88% across sites. Vaccination coverage levels at 3 months of age varied across sites: 82.4% in northern Manhattan, 70.5% in Detroit, 82.3% in San Diego, and 75.8% in rural Colorado. Among children who were not UTD, the majority (65.7% to 71.5% per site) had missed vaccines due to missed opportunities. Factors associated with not being UTD varied by site and included having public or no insurance, >/=2 children living in the household, and the adult respondent being unmarried. At all sites, vaccination coverage among WIC enrollees was higher than coverage among children eligible for but not enrolled in WIC, but the association between UTD status and WIC enrollment was statistically significant for only one site and marginally significant for two other sites. CONCLUSIONS: Missed opportunities were a significant barrier to vaccinations, even at this early age. Practice-based strategies to reduce missed opportunities and prenatal WIC enrollment should be focused especially toward those at highest risk of underimmunization.
PMCID: PMC1497657  PMID: 15313111
4.  A National Survey of Physician Practices Regarding Influenza Vaccine 
To characterize U.S. physicians' practices regarding influenza vaccine, particularly regarding the capacity to identify high-risk patients, the use of reminder systems, and the typical period of administration of vaccine.
Cross-sectional mail survey administered in October and November 2000.
National random sample of internists and family physicians (N = 1,606).
Response rate was 60%. Family physicians are significantly more likely than internists to administer influenza vaccine in their practices (82% vs 76%; P < .05). Eighty percent of physicians typically administer influenza vaccine for 3 to 5 months, but only 27% continue administering vaccine after the typical national peak of influenza activity. Only one half of physicians said their practices are able to generate lists of patients with chronic illnesses at high risk for complications of influenza, and only one quarter had used mail or telephone reminder systems to contact high-risk patients. Physicians working in a physician network (including managed care organizations) are more than twice as likely to use reminders as physicians in other practice settings (odds ratio, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.17 to 3.55).
Over three quarters of U.S. internists and family physicians routinely administer influenza vaccine, but few continue immunization efforts past the typical national peak of influenza activity. Many physicians may be limited by their practice data systems' capacity to identify high-risk patients. Despite the known effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of reminder systems, few physicians use reminders for influenza vaccination efforts. These findings raise concerns about meeting domestic influenza vaccination goals—especially for individuals with chronic illness and during periods of delayed vaccine availability—and the possibility of increased morbidity and mortality attributable to influenza as a result.
PMCID: PMC1495108  PMID: 12220362
influenza vaccine; reminders; chronic illness; general internist; family physician; geriatrician

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