May 1995

Immunization Coverage Among Infants Enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid Program

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn (Drs Griffin, Reed, and Schaffner and Mr Daugherty); the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Division of Field Epidemiology, Epidemiology Program Office (Dr Standaert), and National Immunization Program (Dr Hutchins), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga; and the Tennessee Department of Health, Communicable Diseases, Nashville (Dr Hutcheson).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(5):559-564. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170180089017

Objectives:  To determine immunization coverage of infants receiving Medicaid in Tennessee and to identify risk factors for failure to complete recommended vaccinations by 24 months of age.

Design:  Retrospective cohort study.

Subjects:  A total of 33 615 children born in one of three urban Tennessee counties from 1980 through 1989 who were enrolled in Medicaid throughout their first 24 months of life.

Main Outcome Measures:  Receipt of four diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, three oral polio, and one measles-mumps-rubella vaccines by 24 months of age (up-to-date), as recorded in computerized county immunization records and Medicaid billing files.

Results:  Overall, 45% of infants enrolled in Medicaid in the three urban counties completed the recommended vaccinations by 24 months. The proportion of infants up-to-date peaked at 50% for those born in 1982 and 1983, and decreased to 44% for those born in 1989. The only strong independent predictors of immunization completion were number of prior births for the mother, timing of the first immunization, and county of birth. The proportion up-to-date was 56% for first-born children compared with 27% for those whose mothers had at least three prior births; 55% for those whose first immunization was on time compared with 22% for those with a delay in the first immunization; and 63%, 52%, and 37% for infants born in the three respective counties. Maternal age, education, race, and marital status predicted immunization completeness only weakly or not at all.

Conclusions:  Of infants born in the three counties in the 1980s who were enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program, fewer than half completed their recommended childhood vaccinations by 24 months of age. The large differences in immunization levels between infants enrolled in the Medicaid program in the three counties, not accounted for by differences in demographics, suggest that factors related to the health care and vaccine delivery system have important effects on achieving adequate immunization of these infants.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:559-564)