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Study: More Pre-Teens Get Vaccines When Middle Schools Require Them
Date:5/7/2012

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Pre-teens living in states that require vaccinations for incoming middle school students are more likely to be immunized than those in states without such requirements, a new study finds.

Current vaccine guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that boys and girls aged 11 to 12 receive three immunizations or boosters: tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (TdaP); meningococcal conjugate; and three doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

In 2008-2009, 32 states required TdaP and three required meningococcal conjugate. One state, Virginia, required HPV vaccination for girls during those years.

About 80 percent of kids aged 13 to 17 received the recommended TdaP vaccine in states that required vaccination for middle school entry compared to 70 percent of kids in states that didn't require it. For meningococcal vaccine, those rates were 71 percent versus 53 percent. Researchers did not report HPV vaccination rates in Virginia versus elsewhere.

"State requirement for vaccines for middle school entry does have a positive influence on vaccination coverage. Adolescents in their states are more likely to have received these vaccines," said study co-author Shannon Stokley, a CDC epidemiologist.

The study was released online May 7 and is to be published in the June print issue of Pediatrics.

School vaccination requirements stretch all the way back to 1855, when Massachusetts became the first state to require smallpox vaccine for school entry, according to background information in the article. Over the decades the number of vaccines required expanded, the majority of which need to be received before entering kindergarten.

More recently, many states have mandated that pre-teens have certain vaccines for entering middle school.

"Vaccines are vital to the health of the adolescent.
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