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CDC: Surge in Childhood Hepatitis A Vaccination Stalled

Vaccination coverage grew 73 percent in 2006 to 2007 but has since plateaued

FRIDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- As the result of a broadened recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), hepatitis A average vaccination coverage for children increased sharply from 2006 to 2007, but has since stalled, according to a report in the July 2 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Mary Beth Kurilo, of the Oregon Department of Human Services in Salem, and colleagues reviewed vaccination coverage for children from 2006 through 2009 in the wake of a 2006 ACIP recommendation that all children aged 12 to 23 months be routinely vaccinated for hepatitis A (from 1996 to 2005, only children 2 years and older were recommended for vaccination). CDC data from eight Immunization Information System sentinel sites were used to estimate coverage trends.

The researchers found that average vaccination coverage (one or more doses) increased from 17 percent in 2006 to 47 percent in 2009, while the average full vaccination coverage (two or more doses) increased from 1 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2009. Overall, 73 percent of the coverage increase occurred in 2006 to 2007, but coverage rates have since stalled.

"Immunization programs and vaccine providers should encourage all children to receive hepatitis A vaccine, beginning at age 12 months; interventions, including reminder/recall notification and school or child-care entry vaccination requirements, can contribute to increased vaccination coverage," the authors write.

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