Vaccines for Children:

Barriers to Immunization

T-PEMD-95-21: Published: May 4, 1995. Publicly Released: May 4, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Vaccine for Children program, focusing on barriers to immunization. GAO noted that: (1) although CDC began providing free vaccines in order to remove vaccine cost as a barrier to childhood immunization, there has been no sufficient evidence to conclude that vaccine cost has been a major barrier to immunization; (2) actual barriers to childhood immunization include parents' lack of awareness of their childrens' vaccination schedule, inadequate resources, clinic policies that deter vaccinations, missed opportunities by providers, and a variety of socioeconomic and demographic variables; (3) factors associated with missed vaccination opportunities include providers' failure to use simultaneous vaccinations or accelerated schedules for children behind schedule, lack of access to children's immunization records, and lack of organizational support; and (4) access to health care among underimmunized children is not generally considered a factor for undervaccination.

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