Recently, an article was published in Pediatrics, Frequency of Alternative Immunization Schedule Use in a Metropolitan Area by Steve G. Robison, Holly Groom, and Collette Young, that studied the vaccination rate of children in the Portland area. It found that between 2006 and 2009, the number of children consistently delaying vaccinations in the Portland area increased more than three times.
In 2009, approximately 9.5% of Portland-area parents (out of a study population of nearly 98,000 children) consistently did not follow the recommended vaccine schedule for children from birth to nine months of age. Parents were considered “shot limiters” if they would not allow their children to be vaccinated with more than one or two shots at a time. The study noted that many who limit shots may be following an alternative schedule and plan to eventually complete the schedule, many do not follow through. Shot limited children also had more physician visits, presumably to complete the course of vaccinations.
According to Robison, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Sentinel Immunization Surveillance region, “There is no benefit to spacing out shots or getting fewer shots per visit. It is a very carefully constructed schedule intended to provide the most benefit when these kids need it.”
It remains unknown if the Oregon observations are applicable to the nation as a whole. However, if children haven’t received the proper vaccinations, it may reduce herd immunity leading to increased risks of outbreaks.