However, vaccines aren't reaching poor children on a reliable basis, Katz said. "This is clear and compelling evidence that financial barriers to health care come at a high cost to society. In this case, children will get diseases we have the means to prevent. That is unconscionable," he said.
Katz also said it isn't surprising that teen vaccination rates lag behind those of younger children. "Young children are more subject to parental control and an easier audience to reach. As new vaccines -- such as Gardasil, the HPV vaccine -- increase the importance of immunizing adolescents, the need for innovative outreach programs to get this group increases," he said.
For more on childhood vaccines, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Aug. 30, 2007, teleconference with Melinda Wharton, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director, National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Aug. 31, 2007, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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