Children of uneducated women are more likely to remain unvaccinated or to suffer from delayed vaccinations, say researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
In a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, BGU post-doctoral researcher Dr. Guy Hazan, under the supervision of Professors Ron Dagan and Michael Friger of the Faculty of Health Sciences shows that there is an inverse link between the level of mothers' formal education and the likelihood that two-to-four-year old children had received the full course of state-recommended vaccinations as scheduled.
The review of records, which included 2,072 subjects at five Mother-and-Baby Centers in southern Israel during the years 2015-2016, focused on hepatitis B, Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular, Pertussis (with or without Poliovirus vaccine), measles–mumps–rubella–varicella and hepatitis A.
The Ministry of Health calls for children to be vaccinated against the diseases between the ages of 18 months and seven years of age.
“We found that mothers' education was inversely associated with the probability of vaccination delay by 4%-9% (depending on the vaccination visit) for each year of schooling beyond 10 years," the study found.
The researchers found there was no correlation between levels of paternal education and vaccination delays.
The research methods included measuring vaccination delay in terms relative to each particular branch of the Mother-and-Baby Centers, thus focusing on the neighborhood in which the family lived. This neutralized socio-demographic-cultural-technical factors of particular Mother-and-Baby Centers and facilitated accurate data collection on the connection between maternal education and vaccination delay.
The researchers conclude that better education that emphasizes the importance of education on vaccination timeliness could also act as a catalyst to improve other health-related behaviors.