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Reuters Health Information (2006-10-19): Most US states up to par on recommended vaccination coverage for children

Public Health

Most US states up to par on recommended vaccination coverage for children

Last Updated: 2006-10-19 14:10:14 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - More than half of the states in the US already meet the "Healthy People 2010" goal of vaccinating at least 95% of children entering school for the first time, based on the 2005-2006 school year, according to investigators at the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).

This excellent level of coverage is due, at least in part, to state laws requiring proof of vaccination at school entry, Dr. C Stanwyck and associates at the CDC note in their report, published in the October 20th issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

However, an editorial note points out that the means used for reporting vaccination coverage are not always optimal.

The compiled reports submitted to the CDC by states and the District of Columbia often rely on schools' self-reports, rather than audits by health departments, and include only vaccinations required locally rather than according to federal mandates, as maintained by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The ACIP recommends that by school age, children should have been fully vaccinated against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliovirus, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.

Dr. Stanwyck's team analyzed the 49 reports, submitted by all states except Illinois and Wyoming, for the 2005-2006 school year.

Twenty-nine (57%) states maintained 95% coverage for the newest vaccine, against varicella. Coverage of other vaccines also varied by state: 61% of states had at least 95% coverage for measles and hepatitis B vaccinations, and 67% had the same for DTP/DtaP/DT.

The CDC recommends that states report coverage based on ACIP guidelines rather than state requirements.

Officials at the CDC also urge states to use their online reporting system, available to help states and US-affiliated jurisdictions collect and report data on vaccination coverage: The web site standardizes reporting by automating data-management and performing necessary calculations (

Mor Mortal Wkly Rep CDC Surveill Summ 2006;

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