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Differences in uptake of immunisations and health examinations among refugee children compared to Danish-born children: a cohort study

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Refugee children and their families constitute a vulnerable group regarding health and access to care. In a register-based cohort design, we examined differences in uptake of immunisations and child health examinations between refugee children and Danish-born children, including predictors of uptake among refugee children. Refugee children (n = 16,701) who, between January 1993 and December 2010, obtained residency permits in Denmark were included and matched in a 1:6 ratio on age and sex with Danish-born children (n = 100,206). Personal identification numbers were cross-linked to the National Danish Health Service Register, identifying all contacts for immunisation and child health examinations. We estimated hazard ratios (HR) of uptake. Refugee children had a lower uptake of all immunisations compared to Danish-born children. The lowest uptake was found for immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio (HR = 0.50; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.48-0.51). Participation in child health examinations was also lower among refugee children with the lowest at the last child health examination at age 5 (HR = 0.48; 95 % CI 0.47-0.50). Adjusting the analysis for parental income increased the HRs by 10-20 %.

CONCLUSION: This Danish register-based study using nationwide data revealed a lower uptake of routine immunisations and child health examinations among refugee children compared to Danish-born children. What is Known: •Uptake of immunisation and child health examination is associated with low household income, unemployment and low educational status among the parents. •Uptake may be even lower among refugee families as they constitute a vulnerable group regarding access to healthcare. What is New: •Refugee children had lower uptake of immunisations and child health examinations compared to Danish-born children. •Several predictors of uptake were identified including region of origin and duration of residence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Volume175
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)539-549
ISSN0340-6199
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

ID: 45826409