Reuters Health Information (2005-07-26): U.S. child vaccination rate hits new record high
U.S. child vaccination rate hits new record high
Last Updated: 2005-07-26 15:48:43 -0400 (Reuters Health)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. children are getting
vaccinated at record high rates, with 81% of toddlers 19 months to 3
years old receiving the full recommended series, health officials said
This is up from 79.4% last year and continues a steady upward climb,
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
"These results...illustrate the tremendous progress we've made in
preventing what were once common childhood diseases," said CDC Director
Dr. Julie Gerberding.
"Most importantly, these results show that parents have high levels of confidence in our vaccination recommendations."
U.S. health officials have felt pressure from a few small but
increasingly vocal groups who question the safety of childhood
vaccines. They first tackled the combined measles, mumps and rubella or
whooping cough vaccine, and now blame a mercury-based preservative
called thimerosal once used in vaccines for causing, among other
Numerous official reports have absolved vaccines of causing damage
to young children, but activists have won the backing of some members
The controversy does not seem to have affected overall vaccination rates, however.
"In 2004, coverage for the 4:3:1:3:3 series, which includes four
doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP), three or more doses
of polio vaccine, one or more doses of measles-containing vaccine,
three or more doses of Hib vaccine -- which can prevent meningitis and
pneumonia -- and three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, increased to
80.9%, compared to 79.4% in 2003," the CDC said.
Most children are also getting newer vaccines against chickenpox and
pneumococcal disease, the CDC's National Immunization Survey found.
More than 87% got the varicella vaccine, which protects against
chickenpox, and more than 73% got at least three doses of the new
pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which protects against seven different
strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia, ear infections and other
types of infection.
Dr. Stephen Cochi, acting director of CDC's National Immunization
Program, said some areas of the United States lag in vaccine usage.
Only 68.4% of children in Nevada and 64.8% in El Paso County, Texas, are fully vaccinated.
"If we want to prevent the return of diseases that are currently
rare in the United States, we must maintain our high immunization
rates, and work to ensure those rates are high in all states and
communities," Dr. Cochi said in a statement.
The CDC now also recommends that teens and pre-teens be routinely
vaccinated against meningitis, and is considering a recommendation that
they get a booster vaccine against whooping cough.