Here’s What Low-Income Families Think About Mandatory Vaccination

From the

But when asked whether undervaccinated children should be banned from attending public schools, low-income individuals were more likely to say no than higher-income individuals. Only 49 percent of those in the lowest income bracket said there should be such a ban, compared to 58 percent from the middle income bracket and 63 percent of those in the highest income bracket.

Considering that the majority of children in public schools come from low-income families, school vaccination mandates are an issue that disproportionately affects those families.

And for low-income households, undervaccination is often not a choice but a reflection of barriers to access.

Children from low-income families have been found to be consistently undervaccinated — although the children whose parents file for vaccine exemptions are predominantly affluent. The problem starts young. A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found statistically significant gaps in vaccine coverage among children aged 19-35 months living below and above the poverty line.

There’s also an important distinction between the undervaccinated and the unvaccinated. Undervaccinated children tend to be black and come from families living near the poverty line; their mothers tend to be unmarried and to lack a college education. Unvaccinated children, on the other hand, tend to be white and to come from families with an annual household income of at least $75,000; their mothers tend to be married and college-educated.

The Affordable Care Act and government programs such as Vaccines for Children make certain vaccines free for eligible children. But studies find that factors such as inadequate transportation, limited clinic hours, language barriers and lack of information make full and timely vaccination a challenge for low-income households. Lack of access to a consistent medical provider —> Read More