Predictors of late starters—babies that receive their first immunization after 90 days old—include fewer prenatal care visits, younger maternal age, higher birth order and receiving care at public health clinics. Policy-makers could leverage this information to improve patient outreach and outcomes.
Babies that do not initiate office-based immunizations before 90 days of age are at higher risk for becoming infected with childhood diseases preventable by vaccines. This retrospective cohort study identified maternal, provider and community predictors among late starters. Study included infants born in Philadelphia from January 2002 to December 2004 (N = 65,519).
Risk factor profiles based on information collected at birth can be used to identify higher-risk infants. Early intervention, such as partnering with prenatal care providers to create outreach plans, may be key strategies for preventing underimmunization.