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Experts: Childhood Vaccination Vital

The Early Show: Early Show's Medical Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay explains what the latest numbers show about vaccinations.
CBS/The Early Show
When it comes to childhood vaccinations, Americans are doing better than ever before in making sure infants get the necessary shots in this country. But, not enough adolescents are getting the follow-up shots they need.

Early Show's Medical Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay explains what the latest numbers show about vaccinations.

"The good news is that we can prevent more diseases than ever before with vaccines," said Dr. Senay. "We now have shots for 11 childhood diseases and the vaccination rate for the country are the highest they've ever been for infants."

More children are getting the new chickenpox vaccine but there is still work to be done, according to Dr. Senay. The young from different parts of the country are still not getting the recommended shots and many adolescents are not getting the follow-up shots they need at age 11 or 12.

Starting in infancy, children should get shots for the following diseases:

One vaccine covers measles, mumps and rubella. Disptheria, tetanus and pertussis is covered in another vaccine. Haemophilus influenzae type B, polio, hepatitis B, pneumoccocal and varicella for chickenpox are covered by a third vaccine.

Most of the vaccines are given in a rigorous schedule of doses advised by pediatrician throughout early childhood.


Federal officials estimate that 35 million adolescents have missed at least one of the recommended vaccinations.

At age 11 or 12, doctors should check to see if a child requires a booster for measles, mups and rubella if they missed their second dose early. They should also check to see if a hepatitis B shot was given. Kids should also get a tetanus booster. Children who haven't had chickenpox by age 13 need to get two doses of the varicella vaccine. Some teens may also get vaccinated for influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis A and meningitis as warranted.

"The good news for federal officials is … as of August we no longer have the shortages of most vaccines reported earlier this year," said Dr. Senay. "Although the pneumococcal vaccine may still be in limited supply."