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Childhood Vaccination Rates Remain High in U.S.

Coverage for most routine shots at or over 90%, CDC report shows

THURSDAY, Sept. 16, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. childhood immunization rates remain high, with coverage for most routine vaccines at or over 90 percent, a new federal report shows.

Among children aged 19 to 35 months, less than 1 percent had not received any vaccinations, according to the 2009 National Immunization Survey of more than 17,000 households with children born between January 2006 and July 2008.

Coverage for vaccination against poliovirus, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and measles, mumps and rubella remained relatively stable and near or above the national Healthy People 2010 target of 90 percent or higher, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Rates of vaccination for hepatitis A and the birth dose of hepatitis B increased by more than 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

Forty-four percent of the children had received rotavirus vaccine during infancy. These vaccines were first licensed in the United States in 2006.

There was a decrease in vaccinations against Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib), a bacterial illness that can cause a potentially deadly brain infection. In 2009, 83.6 percent of children aged 19 to 35 months had received three doses of Hib vaccine, a 6.4 percent decrease from 2008. This reflects a national shortage of the vaccine in 2008 and 2009. There are now adequate supplies of the Hib vaccine, the study authors noted.

"While it's encouraging to see immunization rates remaining high, we know that parents have questions about vaccines and we must continue to educate parents about the importance of vaccination to help avoid future resurgences in serious, preventable illnesses," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in an agency news release.

She noted that in 2008 there were outbreaks of measles that occurred primarily in children whose parents had refused to have their children vaccinated.

It's likely there are still some communities with high numbers of under-vaccinated or unvaccinated children, Schuchat added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about childhood vaccines.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Sept. 16, 2010
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