Paid parental leave and family wellbeing in the sustainable development era
OBJECTIVE This study examined how maternal work-related factors, including the availability of paid maternal leave, affect childhood vaccination status. Relatively little is known about the association between the employment status of mothers and the vaccination status of their children. METHOD We examined data from the Japanese Study on Stratification, Health, Income, and Neighborhood (J-SHINE), an ongoing epidemiologic household panel study in Japan. We used surveys taken in 2010-2011 in this study. RESULTS We found that mothers who returned to work after giving birth were much less likely to follow recommended vaccine schedules for their children compared with mothers who stayed at home and those who had left the workforce by the time of childbirth. However, taking parental leave significantly reduced the risk of not being up-to-date with the vaccination schedule at 36 months of age. We also found that children whose mother was younger and less educated, and those from an economically deprived family were at a high risk of not being up-to-date with the vaccination status at 36 months of age. CONCLUSION Because vaccination is free and widely available in Japan, our findings indicate that provision of free vaccinations is not sufficient to achieve high vaccination rates.