Paid family leave improves vaccination rates in infants

Analyzing the impact of time constraints on the immunization of infants on time.


Raising a newborn child includes financial resources, yet also, time investment from the parents. A time requirement can affect significant choices made by parents at the beginning times of an infant’s life. One type of investment that is especially significant is vaccinating a baby.

A new study by Binghamton University, State University of New York’s scientists, analyze the impact of time constraints on the immunization of infants on time. The study found that parents who take paid family leave after the birth of a newborn are more likely to have their child vaccinated on time compared to those who do not. The impact is stronger on families living below the poverty line.

Scientists looked at the National Immunization Survey to collect data regarding child vaccination rates between 19-35 months old. Specifically took a gander at children born before and after the PFL policy was implemented in California and whether children received vaccinations on time compared to children in other states during the same period. Vaccinations studied include Hepatitis-B (HepB), Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTP) and Haemophilus Influenza Type B (HIB).

They found that the PFL policy in California is granting six weeks of family leave with partial wage replacement reduced late vaccination rates in infants.

Solomon Polachek, professor of economics at Binghamton University, said, “Currently, many people do not vaccinate their child within the recommended schedule and are late. Often this might be due to parental time constraints. When an infant is young, these immunizations are critical, since infants are at a higher risk of infection and illness if not vaccinated properly.”

“The research finds that paid family leave (at least in California) increases the chance an infant will be inoculated for the second HepB injection by over 5 percent relative to states not implementing paid family leave, and for the DTP injection by about 1.5 percent. The effects are bigger for poorer families, who are less likely to have access to paid family leave from their jobs alone.”

“Vaccinating infants on time is vital to their future health and well-being since vaccines can ward off diseases that can impact future attendance at school. Not only do these outcomes lead to less learning for children, but also they can lead to lower earnings power.”

“Poor school attendance and less early childhood learning can have consequences regarding the widening earnings distribution. Paid family leave might be a viable national policy if it mitigates these detrimental effects.”

The study was published in IZA Institute of Labor Economics.