Vaccination of Children Among the African Americans

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The study examines literature and factors that influencing vaccination among the African American children. The literature says that African American children encountered barriers in accessing immunization. Some of the barriers that affecting the African American include socioeconomic status, motherhood education, having more than one child in the family and place of vaccination. The study will help health care professionals to understand factors that may affect immunization status of a certain cultural group. The study develops a foundation of knowledge for health care providers in developing promotion material for this cultural group.

Vaccination of Children among the African America Cultural Group


Childhood vaccination is the most effective approach to prevent diseases and death. Besides providing protection to an individual, it reduces spread of diseases in a community. Vaccination triggers a defensive reaction of the immune system against chronic infection illness. In U.S., programs towards children inoculation have been a noteworthy contribution in eliminating much of vaccine-preventable illnesses. The deliverance of vaccination to the children in time increases the chances of preventing chronic diseases and lowers the risks of spreading the disease. The Center for Diseases and Control (CDC) recommends that children under the age of 19 months should be vaccinated to maximize protection (Center for Diseases and Control, 2011). The Center for Diseases and Control called for a protection of American Children as a measure of preventing the society from vaccine-preventable disease. Health peoples 2020 seeks to reduce disparities related to health (Kennedy, Pruitt, Smith, & Garrell, 2011). Zhao and Luman (2010) performed a study to examine the measures taken to eliminate disparities in vaccination coverage among the U.S children. They have investigated the coverage rates for 1:3 (the dose of polio) 4:3 (at least for doses of DTaP: 3:1(one dose of Varicella). The researchers used data on 186,000 infants included in the NIS survey of the 2000-2008 year by sociodemographic cohort. The estimated ratio of coverage improved by a quarter of each cultural group covered in the study. The African American group had less observed coverage than that of the Caucasian group in the six years of the nine-year period of study. This paper seeks to investigate causes of low immunization rates among the African American. The paper examines the relevant literature on African American children.


The purpose of this study is to examine written literature on factors that contribute to barrier of vaccination among the African American children. The study seeks to identify barriers to childhood immunization among the African Americans. Studying barriers that hinder the achievement of Health Peoples, 2020 will initiate a strategic approach for designing an intervention to improve guarantee in vaccination. Therefore, the study develops a foundation of knowledge for health care providers in developing promotion material for this cultural group.


The study seeks to understand barrier to vaccination among African American children. The researcher developed a quantitative strategy where literature materials were chosen in accordance with the objective of the study. The researcher used google scholar research engine to generate articles that were relevant to the subject of study. The keywords were: “vaccination among African American;” “disparities in vaccination in U.S;” and “immunization of African America”. The researcher have found limited literature related to the subject of study. However, there was a connection between parental choice and delay of childhood immunization. The literature highlighted the influence of parental literacy on African American children vaccination status. According to Niederhauser, (2010) literacy in health care is the ability of people to recognize and process basic health care information so as to make appropriate medical choices.

Niederhauser (2010) designed an instrument to test the theory of reasoned action of parental barrier in childhood immunization. Niederhauser (2010) developed an instrument by investigating barriers to vaccination from the scholarly material as well as from a pilot study. The elements included in the model include socioeconomic status, motherhood education, having more one child in the family and the place of vaccination. A pilot study of 20 respondents was developed to determine reliability and clarity of the instrument. He used the Likert scale to determine the level in which the parents perceived a problem with getting their children to immunization (Niederhauser, 2010). Higher score demonstrated the high chances of parental problems in obtaining vaccination for their children. Niederhauser (2010) reported that nearly half of the parents had difficulties reading and understanding patient education material with most having difficulties in comprehending health care services that were significant to the care of their children. Since most infants depend on their guardian to be in control of decisions related to health care, it is likely that health care proficiency of the guardian can affect the result of the well-being of the child.

Pati et al. (2010) performed a study to determine the relationship between literacy on maternal health and status of early immunization in a Medicaid-eligible inner city birth group. The authors believed that mothers with a high level of literacy were more connected to children who were informed of their immunization status. They also assumed that maternal health literacy reduced the impacts of maternal education on immunization status. The researchers applied both quantitative and qualitative research among 506 mother-infant dyads. The research collected demographic information using the Test of Functional Health Literacy among the study respondents. 87 percent of the study participants were African American. 23% of this cultural group demonstrated a lack of maternal health literacy while 31% did not attain high school education. Three-quarter of the children understood their vaccination at the third month of their birth. 43 % of the seven-month-old were still with their immunization schedule. According to their findings, infants with mothers who had lower levels of education (secondary school) were three times less mindful of their vaccination contrasted with kids whose mothers had attained more than a secondary school confirmation. Children who received care from hospital facilities were four times more informed that those children who received health care from private health environment. Although literacy on maternal health had no effect on the status of vaccination at three or seven months. Although parental literacy had no significant impact on children’s vaccination status, Pati et al.’s (2010) findings demonstrate that literacy in health care is connected to maternal education. The literature hints that maternal learning had a noteworthy effect on the status of kid inoculation. The study depicted the effect of maternal training on choices about the start of immunization.

Limitation of the study

In literature it is cited that parental literacy among the African-American is the main barrier preventing children from receiving the vaccination. However, the literature does not discuss the relationship between childhood immunization disparities and maternal health care literacy. Although, the articles argue that African American have less education level contrasted with other cultural groups, it is not obvious if there is a factor in the level of vaccination in among the African American. Pati et al.’s (2010) argue the maternal health literacy had no significance impact on children’s information status. However, the study was done in Pennsylvania which is associated low rates of disparity in Immunization coverage (Hernandez, Montana, & Clarke, 2010). Therefore, the limitation in this literature calls for an evidence-based study to determine unique barriers and factors that African American parents face when seeking childhood immunization for their children. There is a requirement for exploration to research the roles that literacy in health plays in levels of disparities among African American cultural groups.


The reduced levels vaccine administration are connected to choices of the parent to delay the vaccination of their children. Understanding the components impacting the immunization rate among infants could help in shielding children from infection and disease connected with inoculation. The literature suggests that African American children encountered barriers in accessing immunization. (Pati et al., 2010; Zhao & Luman, 2010). Some of the factors affecting the African American cultural group include socioeconomic status, motherhood education, having more then one child in the family and the place of vaccination. The views and insights of African American also impact the rates of childhood vaccination. According to Painter et al. (2010) parents either trust or do not trust the health care providers to provide vaccines to their children. The literature suggests a poor immunization knowledge among African American mothers. Zhao and Luman (2010) suggest the need for knowledge concerning vaccination and the need for relevant cultural communication between the parents and the health care provider. Parents are consumers of the internet, which could be used a platform to educate them the benefits of vaccination as well as its impacts, thus, motivating African American parents to vaccinate their children. When children are not vaccinated in time as recommended, the children miss receiving protection when the vaccine preventable illness is vulnerable and have more chance of never completing the full dose of the vaccine.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). General recommendations on immunization. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hernandez, V. R., Montana, S., & Clarke, K. (2010). Child health inequality: Framing a social work response. Health and Social Work, 35(4), 291-301.

Kennedy, L., Pruitt, R., Smith, K., & Garrell, R. (2011). Closing the immunization gap. The Nurse Practitioner, 36(3), 39-45.

Niederhauser, V. P. (2010). Measuring parental barriers to childhood immunizations: The development and validation of the searching for hardships and obstacles to shots (SHOTS) instrument. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 18(1), 26-34.

Painter, J. E., Sales, J. M., Pazol, K., Grimes, T., Wingood, G. M., & DiClemente, R. J. (2010). Development, theoretical framework, and lessons learned from implementation of a school-based influenza vaccination intervention. Health Promotion Practice, 11(S1), 42S-52S.

Pati, S., Feemster, K. A., Mohamad, Z., Fiks, A., Grudmieir, R., & Cnaan, A. (2010). Maternal health literacy and late initiation of immunizations among an inner-city birth cohort. Journal of Maternal and Child Health, 15(3), 386-94.

Zhao, Z., & Luman, E. (2010). Progress toward eliminating disparities in vaccination coverage among U.S. children, 2000-2008. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38(2), 127- 137.

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NursingBird. "Vaccination of Children Among the African Americans." January 3, 2023.