Early Childhood Immunization Rates Increasing

Immunization rates for children 19-35 months of age for most vaccine-preventable diseases are increasing or being sustained at high levels, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates for most of the long-standing recommended vaccines are at or above 90 percent, the report says.

“Today’s report is reassuring because it means that most parents are protecting their young children from diseases that can cause widespread and sometimes severe harm,” said Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. We recommend vaccinations because they are one of the most effective, safest ways to keep children healthy.”

The 2010 National Immunization Survey (NIS) of more than 17,000 households looked at children born between January 2007 and July 2009. Compared with the previous year, vaccine coverage increased for many vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, mumps and rubella, rotavirus, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A, and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib). Results from the survey also indicated that vaccination coverage rates against poliovirus, varicella (chickenpox) and the full series of hepatitis B remained stable at or above 90 percent.

“As recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have shown, vaccine-preventable diseases are still around us,” Dr. Schuchat said, “and it is important that health care providers, community groups, and state programs support parents in assuring that children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

In marked contrast to other health services, where substantial disparities between whites and minorities persist, immunization rates did not differ by racial or ethnic groups for most vaccines. Rather, with the recent increases in coverage among minority children, vaccination levels for most vaccines in other racial/ethnic groups were similar to, or higher than, levels among white children.

Although much interest has focused on parents who do not vaccinate their children or who seek exemptions from vaccine requirements, the national survey found less than one- percent of toddlers had received no vaccines at all.

Complete results from the 2010 National Immunization Survey can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.

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