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Half of U.S. States Meet Goal for Children's Vaccination

However, vaccines and survey methods vary by state, which may be misleading

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although more than half of U.S. states report meeting the Healthy People 2010 goal of 95 percent coverage for child immunizations, the vaccines themselves and survey methods vary by state. In addition, most states use school reports instead of health department audits, a practice that could lead to mistakes in coverage estimations, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The Healthy People 2010 initiative has set the goal of 95 percent or greater vaccination coverage for children in kindergarten through the first grade for hepatitis B, diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis, poliovirus, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines. Data from reports submitted by states for the 2005-2006 school year were analyzed to determine coverage.

More than half the states reported achieving the vaccination coverage goal and the others report progress in reaching the goal. However, the vaccines required for each reporting jurisdiction and the survey methods for kindergarten-aged children vary significantly by state. Currently, most states use schools' self-reports instead of health department audits.

To address this issue, CDC "has promoted greater standardization of reporting, for example, by encouraging all states to report coverage based on Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations rather than on state requirements. These improvements in survey methods and assessment procedures will help ensure that health jurisdictions are accurately reporting progress toward the greater than 95 percent coverage goal," the report states.

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