June 4, 1997 Pediatricians from Boston Medical Center have shown that urban drop-in vaccination clinics can play a crucial role in providing immunizations for extremely high risk children. The paper, presented last month at the Ambulatory Pediatric Association annual meeting in Washington DC, found that these drop-in clinics are utilized by the hardest to reach and most vulnerable families.
Compared to children who had up-to-date vaccinations and were seen at pediatrics clinics, the researchers found that children seen at drop-in vaccination clinics were more often uninsured, foreign-born, and had missed an average of seven vaccinations.
In addition, parents who brought their children to drop-in vaccination clinics were significantly poorer, more often unemployed, less likely to be US citizens, spoke less English and had spent less time in the United States as compared to parents whose children used a pediatrics clinic.
According to Glenn Flores, MD, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and presenter of the paper, although national immunization rates continue to improve, rates are lowest and risks of vaccine-preventable illness are highest in poor, minority and immigrant children. "Our data indicate that these clinics are used most often by people who speak little English, are the least knowledgeable about immunizations, lack a primary care provider and are most severely delayed in their vaccinations," adds Flores.
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