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Impact of delayed vaccinations

Reasons why not to delay your baby/child’s vaccinations…

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Vaccine-preventable diseases

Complete and timely vaccination is necessary to achieve effective control of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs).1,2

  • Complete or ‘full’ vaccination coverage during infancy is essential to prevent lifethreatening childhood infections.1,2
  • Delivering vaccines at the right time, and at the right age is also essential to protect infants and children at the age they are most vulnerable.1,2
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Why is timing so important?

A timely start to vaccination, in the first year of life, is especially important as maternal antibodies rapidly decline.2 It is necessary to vaccinate at the recommended ages and not delay or ‘spread out’ vaccines, as these are the ages that have the highest risk for specific infections and for which vaccines have been tested and proven.2

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Understanding the risks of delayed vaccination

Delayed vaccinations increase the child’s risk of susceptibility to preventable infections that may be life-threatening at an early age.2,3,4

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Did you know?

Delayed vaccinations are defined as a delay of 30+ days after the recommended age for each dose?3

Some parents may delay vaccinations due to:

  • A fear of the side effects of vaccines4
  • A preference to ‘spread-out’ injections so that not as many are administered at one time4
  • Difficulty getting children to vaccination clinics because of transport or illness4

“Ripple” effect:
A vaccine delay at one visit impacts subsequent doses, resulting in 60 – 70 % of children, not completing their full set of vaccinations within the recommended time.

This puts children at risk of infections that are preventable.4,5

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The devastating impact of delayed vaccinations

  • Late vaccination can be associated with a reduced chance of survival in cases of disease exposure.1
  • Delayed vaccinations put a child at significant risk of not receiving all the
    recommended vaccine doses.4

The implication of untimely vaccination is that children with incomplete or delayed vaccination, are at unnecessary risk of VPDs, and may potentially become the vehicles for epidemics.2,5

VACCINATE. You have the power to change their future!1

Medical References

  1. Poorolajal J, Khazaei S, Kousehlou Z, et al. Delayed Vaccination and Related Predictors among Infants. Iranian Journal of Public Health 2012;41(10):65-71.
  2. Hu Y, Li Q, Chen Y. Timeliness of Childhood Primary Immunization and Risk Factors Related with Delays: Evidence from the 2014 Zhejiang Provincial Vaccination Coverage Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2017;14:1- 13.
  3. Kiely M, Boulianne N, Talbot D, et al. Impact of vaccine delays at the 2, 4, 6 and 12 month visits on incomplete vaccination status by 24 months of age in Quebec, Canada. BMC Public Health. 2018;18:1364-1378.
  4. Smith PJ, Humiston SG, Parnell T, et al. The Association Between Intentional Delay of Vaccine Administration and Timely Childhood Vaccination Coverage. Intentional Vaccine Delay and Childhood Vaccination Coverage. Public Health Reports 2010;125:534-541. 
  5. World Health Organization. New measles surveillance data for 2019. Available from:
    newsroom/measles-data-2019/en/. Last accessed July 2019.

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