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Open Access Research article

Paternal education status significantly influences infants’ measles vaccination uptake, independent of maternal education status

Anu Rammohan1, Niyi Awofeso23* and Renae C Fernandez2

Author affiliations

1 School of Business, Discipline of Economics, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia

2 School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia

3 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Anzac Pde, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:336  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-336

Published: 8 May 2012

Abstract

Background

Despite increased funding of measles vaccination programs by national governments and international aid agencies, structural factors encumber attainment of childhood measles immunisation to levels which may guarantee herd immunity. One of such factors is parental education status. Research on the links between parental education and vaccination has typically focused on the influence of maternal education status. This study aims to demonstrate the independent influence of paternal education status on measles immunisation.

Methods

Comparable nationally representative survey data were obtained from six countries with the highest numbers of children missing the measles vaccine in 2008. Logistic regression analysis was applied to examine the influence of paternal education on uptake of the first dose of measles vaccination, independent of maternal education, whilst controlling for confounding factors such as respondent’s age, urban/rural residence, province/state of residence, religion, wealth and occupation.

Results

The results of the analysis show that even if a mother is illiterate, having a father with an education of Secondary (high school) schooling and above is statistically significant and positively correlated with the likelihood of a child being vaccinated for measles, in the six countries analysed. Paternal education of secondary or higher level was significantly and independently correlated with measles immunisation uptake after controlling for all potential confounders.

Conclusions

The influence of paternal education status on measles immunisation uptake was investigated and found to be statistically significant in six nations with the biggest gaps in measles immunisation coverage in 2008. This study underscores the imperative of utilising both maternal and paternal education as screening variables to identify children at risk of missing measles vaccination prospectively.