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Immunization of children aged 19-35 months old against most vaccine-preventable diseases remains high in the United States, with coverage for most of the routine vaccines remaining at or over 90 percent, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than 1 percent of young children got no vaccinations, the CDC report said.
"Nearly all parents are choosing to have their children protected against dangerous childhood diseases through vaccination," says Anne Schuchat, MD, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Today's report suggests the national picture is reassuring. However, in 2008, there were outbreaks of measles primarily in children whose parents had declined to have their children vaccinated. It is likely that communities with high numbers of under vaccinated or unvaccinated
children remain, Schuchat adds. "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."
The 2009 National Immunization Survey (NIS) of more than 17,000 households looked at vaccination of children born between January 2006 and July 2008 and found that vaccine coverage against poliovirus; measles, mumps and rubella; hepatitis B and varicella (chickenpox), remained relatively stable and near or above the national Healthy People 2010 goal of 90 percent or higher.
At the same time, rates of vaccination for hepatitis A and the birth dose of hepatitis B increased significantly, with the number of children aged 19-35 months who were immunized rising by more than six percentage and five percentage points respectively.
Other findings included:
- 44 percent of children aged 19-35 months had received rotavirus vaccine during infancy; these vaccines were first licensed in 2006.
- 83.6 percent of children aged 19-35 months had received three doses of Haemophilus influenzae B, down by 6.4 points from the previous year, reflecting a national shortage of the vaccine in 2008 and 2009.
- Vaccine is now readily available.
Schuchat noted that there was substantial variation between states in vaccination rates, suggesting room for improvements.
The NIS is the only population-based survey in the United States to provide national, state, local area and territorial estimates of provider-reported vaccination coverage among children 19 to 35 months old.
To estimate coverage for all age-eligible children, NIS conducts quarterly household surveys for each area, followed by a mail survey of children's vaccination providers to collect the data.