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Kindergarten Vaccination Rates Improving in U.S.

Now 95 percent of children getting required vaccines in 75 percent of states

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Efforts to improve vaccination rates among U.S. kindergarten children under the Healthy People 2010 initiative are paying off, according to a report in the Aug. 17 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Ninety-five percent of kindergarten children in 75 percent of states in the 2006-2007 school year received all the vaccinations required for entry to kindergarten in that state.

The researchers surveyed 49 states and the District of Columbia with only Nevada missing from the reporting data. They defined coverage as the vaccines and doses each state requires for children to enter public school rather than the doses specified by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Thirteen states did not meet the target of 95 percent coverage for one or more of the vaccines.

Proof of vaccination for school entry is an effective means to help ensure maximum vaccination coverage, according to the report. However, requirements vary widely from state to state, which may lead to over- or under-estimation of nationwide vaccination coverage.

"The effectiveness of these laws depends on school nurses, teachers, health department staff members, and others identifying children whose vaccinations are not up to date," the authors conclude.

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