Parents' decision to vaccinate their children is related to their willingness to receive vaccines themselves, according to a study, "The Concordance of Parent and Child Immunization" published in the May 2017 Pediatrics (published online on April 17).
For the study, researchers examined immunization records for 450,687 children between the ages of 9 months through 17 years in Oregon. They found when adult caregivers received influenza immunizations, their children were 2.77 times more likely to receive an influenza immunization.
This effect was observed for all ages of children in the study, including adolescents, though it was weaker for infants whose immunizations are driven also by well-baby visits. When parents changed from immunizing to non-immunizing, their children were almost twice as likely to miss an influenza immunization; conversely when parents increased their own immunization habits, their children were more than five times more likely to get an influenza immunization.
An adult-caregiver's personal decision to get a flu vaccine impacted other childhood vaccine decisions, especially the HPV vaccine. Completion of the HPV series was more influenced by adult caregiver's own immunization behavior, with adolescent males benefiting more from having influenza immunizing adult-caregivers than did adolescent females.
Researchers concluded that improving children's immunization rates for seasonal influenza and other vaccines may depend on improving parent's access to and acceptance of immunizations for themselves.