Immunization Rates High for U.S. Kids

The CDC today reported that U.S. immunization rates for
young kids remain at or above record highs, but teens need to get up to speed
on their vaccinations.

"We're doing well in the childhood program but we've still got a ways to
go with adolescents," Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH, deputy director of the
CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said at a
news conference.

The CDC's latest immunization statistics report covers 2006 vaccinations for
kids aged 19-35 months and teens aged 13-17.

The report shows that in 2006, more than three-quarters -- 77% -- of U.S.
children aged 19-35 months in 2006 got all of the recommended doses of six
childhood vaccines that target 10 diseases.

Those children got four doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
(whooping cough) vaccine; three doses of the polio vaccine; one or more doses
of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine; three doses of the Haemophilus
type b (Hib) vaccine; three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine;
and one or more doses of the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

Kids' Immunization Rates Steady

The percentage of children aged 19-35 months who got all recommended doses
of those sixB vaccines is similar to the 2005 percentage.

But that percentage is still below the government's 2010 goal to have at
least 90% of U.S. kids in that group get all recommended doses of
theirB vaccines.

Children's immunization rates varied among states. Here are the top five
states, along with the percentage of children aged 19-35 months who got all
recommended doses of their vaccines:

  1. Massachusetts: 83.6%

  2. Connecticut: 82%

  3. North Carolina: 81.5%

  4. Georgia: 81.4%

  5. Pennsylvania: 80.8%

The five states at the bottom of the immunization list are:

  1. West Virginia: 68.4%

  2. Alaska: 67.3%

  3. Montana: 65.6%

  4. Wyoming: 63.5%

  5. Nebraska: 59.5%

Among children aged 19-35 months, nearly 78% of whites had gotten the
complete vaccination series, compared with about 74% of African-American
children. That gap is tied to socioeconomic status, says Wharton.

The figures are based on nationwide telephone interviews with the parents of
more than 21,000 U.S. children aged 19-35 months.

Teen Vaccines

For the first time, the CDC also interviewed the parents of more than 2,800
teens aged 13-17. Those interviews show that some teens aren't up to date on
their vaccinations.

For instance, the government wants at least 90% of teens aged 13-15 to get
the recommended doses of the hepatitis B vaccine and the measles, mumps, and
rubella vaccine.B

In 2006, between 84% and 88% of teens in that age range had gotten the
recommended doses of those vaccines.

But teens were especially behind on newer vaccines. For instance, only about
12% of 13-17-year-olds had received the new meningococcal conjugate vaccine and
only about 11% had gotten the combined tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough

The CDC's immunization figures appear in tomorrow's edition of the CDC's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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