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U.S. Teens Fall Short on Vaccine Coverage
Date:8/30/2007

But most younger children are getting their needed shots, federal surveys find

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Most young U.S. children are getting their recommended vaccinations, but rates for teens are lagging, especially for some newer vaccines, U.S. health officials announced Thursday.

Last year, 77 percent of children 19 months to 35 months had received their recommended vaccinations. While this is short of the 80 percent goal called for in the federal Healthy People 2010 initiative, it may be close enough to still meet that target in three years, according to the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).

"That compares with 76.1 percent in 2005," Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said during a teleconference. "We continue to have a very high level of vaccination coverage in this age group."

The CDC survey covered six vaccinations for children 19 months to 35 months that protect against 10 diseases. The diseases are diphtheria; tetanus; pertussis (whooping cough); polio; measles; mumps; rubella (German measles); Haemophilus influenzae type b; hepatitis B; and varicella (chickenpox).

Because of the high levels of vaccination, these diseases are present at very low levels in the United States, Wharton said.

Vaccination coverage varied by state and city, Wharton said. The highest level was in Massachusetts with 83.6 percent; the lowest was in Nevada, 59.5 percent. For specific cities, Boston had the highest vaccine coverage at 81.4 percent, and Detroit the lowest at 65.2 percent, according to statistics published in the Aug. 31 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Vaccination rates are still running behind schedule among minority communities, however, Wharton said. "Children who live below the poverty level are less likely to be vaccinated than children
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