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More Low-Income Kids Are Getting Vaccinated
Date:5/4/2009

The immunization gap between wealthier, poorer children is shrinking, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- The good news from a new study is that more American children from low-income families are getting the vaccines they need.

The bad news is that there's still a wide disparity between low- and high-income children when it comes to protection against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), via the combo DTaP vaccine, the researchers say.

In a study published in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, researchers reported that timely vaccinations were up for low-income children for all vaccines, except the Haemophilus-influenzae (Hib) vaccine, where levels remained unchanged.

When the researchers looked at the disparity between low- and high-income children, they found the vaccination gap was closing for three vaccines, but was increasing for the three-in-one DTaP vaccine.

"We've made progress, but we still have a long ways to go," Dr. Mark Diamond, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said of the study.

"Further progress in timely vaccination may be achieved by improving health care providers' reminder/recall systems, implementing educational interventions that address barriers to vaccination, and increasing parents' awareness of the Vaccines for Children Program," wrote the study's authors.

The Vaccines for Children Program (VCP) was established in 1994 to provide free or low-cost vaccines to low-income children. The program was developed after a resurgence of measles was observed between 1989 and 1991. Measles cases disproportionately affected inner-city, preschool-aged, and minority children, experts noted.

The current study was designed to assess whether or not most 19- to 35-month-old low-income children were receiving timely vaccinations. Low-income households were defined as t
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