Factors Associated with Childhood Vaccination Adherence in Kindergartens of the Houston Independent School District
Journal of Public Health Management and Practice
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Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Objective: Adequate childhood vaccination rates are crucial for successful control of infectious diseases. Nevertheless, exemption requests, lack of health care access and information and other barriers can reduce vaccination adherence rates, and increase the risk of epidemics. This study aimed to identify factors associated with kindergarten vaccination adherence in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Design and Setting: This study was a retrospective observational data analysis. The study used data from 155 elementary schools of the HISD. The data sets included were (1) Elementary School Profile Reports (2015-2016) and (2) Annual Report of Immunization Status (2016-2017). Logistic regression was used to examine the association between vaccination adherence in schools and the school's student demographic and economic profile, student behavior indicators, teacher profile, and school rank. Main Outcome Measure: A binary variable measuring adequate vaccination adherence rates in schools is the main outcome variable. Results: Lower vaccination adherence among the kindergarten students was associated with higher enrollment, a higher percentage of African American students and students with English as second language, and a lower percentage of gifted/talented students in the schools. Conclusions: The school characteristics that were found to be significantly associated with kindergarten student vaccination adherence in this study are the ones that have historically been associated with socioeconomic determinants of health and socioeconomic privilege. Hence, the findings of this study suggest the need for development of policies and interventions that can help overcome the barriers associated with low socioeconomic status, language, and marginalization in order to improve vaccination rates in school districts. These include culturally appropriate polices and health promotion, patient navigation, and educational interventions that can overcome the challenges faced by socially and economically vulnerable minorities and immigrant communities in order to improve vaccination rates.