Reuters Health Information (2006-01-11): Vaccination successful in curbing pediatric hepatitis A in US
Vaccination successful in curbing pediatric hepatitis A in US
Last Updated: 2006-01-11 10:35:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Findings from the National Immunization Survey show that many children at higher risk of hepatitis A are being successfully targeted, researchers report in the January issue of Pediatrics.
At the time period encompassed by the study, the first on a national scale, routine hepatitis A vaccination of children was recommended in 11 states. Another 6 states had a recommendation to consider vaccination.
"In 2003, 3 to 4 years after the recommendations were in place," investigator Dr. Anthony E. Fiore told Reuters Health, "about 51% of 19- to 35-month-old children in the 11 states had received at least one vaccination dose, while about 25% of those in the 6 states where vaccination was to be considered had been vaccinated."
"As expected," he added, "there was very little vaccine being given to children in this age group in the remaining states." However, as of October 2005, recommendations are that all children aged 1 to 2 years should be vaccinated.
Moreover, Dr. Fiore of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia and colleagues note that overall coverage for hepatitis A vaccination remains lower than that for other routine childhood vaccinations.
"We have made progress in providing hepatitis A vaccination to children in states where it was originally recommended," Dr. Fiore continued, "but more needs to be done."
Nevertheless, "the number of cases of hepatitis A has been at an all-time low in the United States for the past 4 years," he concluded, "but we expect that increasing the numbers of children who get vaccinated will drive the number of cases down even lower."