Vaccine Coverage Remains High Among Toddlers

Aimee Simone, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Thursday, September 26, 2013
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Vaccination rates for children aged 19 to 35 months remained high in 2012, though they fell short for some vaccines and varied from state to state and based on family income.

Vaccination rates among young children in the United States remain high, with coverage reaching or exceeding the Healthy People 2020 target of 90% for several diseases, according to a report published on September 13, 2013, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
 
The report details national and state vaccination coverage estimates for children born from January 2009 to May 2011, based on data from the 2012 National Immunization Survey. The survey conducts telephone interviews with a random sample of households with children aged 19 to 35 months, followed by a mailed survey to health care providers to obtain vaccination information. In all, providers supplied vaccination records for a total of 16,916 children. The results were then weighted to reflect the national population.
 
The results indicate that national vaccination coverage in 2012 neared or exceeded national targets for 1 or more doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) (90.8% coverage), for at least 3 doses of the poliovirus vaccine (92.8% coverage), for 3 or more doses of the hepatitis B vaccine (HepB) (89.7%), and for at least 1 dose of the varicella vaccine (90.2%). Vaccination rates remained stable or slightly decreased from 2011, remaining below the 90% Healthy People 2020 target for 4 or more doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTaP) (82.5%), the full series of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib) (80.9%), and 4 or more doses of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) (81.9%). Coverage rates with at least 2 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine (HepA) (53%) and at least 2 doses of the rotavirus vaccine (68.6%) were similar to 2011 rates, remaining below the targets of 85% and 80%, respectively. Rates for the combined vaccine series were also similar to 2011 at 68.4%. Less than 1% of all children had not received any vaccinations.
 
Coverage rates did not significantly vary among most racial and ethnic groups, but differences were observed based on household income. Children in families with incomes below the federal poverty level had lower coverage rates for the PCV, Hib series, DTap, HepA, and rotavirus vaccines compared with children in families at or above the poverty level. Coverage also varied from state to state, with rates for the combined vaccine series ranging from 59.5% in Alaska to 80.2% in Hawaii. Connecticut and Delaware were the only states to reach at least 90% coverage with the DTaP vaccine, a threshold crossed by the District of Columbia as well. In addition, 15 states fell short of national targets for MMR coverage.
 
An editorial note included in the report states that, although vaccination rates among young children remain stable and high, maintaining high coverage throughout the country is still important, especially considering recent measles outbreaks among those who have not been vaccinated against the disease.
 
“Parents and health-care providers should work to sustain high coverage and improve coverage for the more recently recommended vaccines and those that require booster doses after age 12 months,” the note concludes.

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