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Immunization rates remain high, but measles pose a concern

Friday September 13, 2013
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Immunization of U.S. children ages 19 to 35 months remains high, with coverage for many routine vaccines remaining near or above the target figure of 90%, according to a CDC report that cites data from the 2012 National Immunization Survey.

However, the year to date has featured a higher-than-normal number of measles cases, according to a separate article in the Sept. 13 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Through Aug. 24, the CDC received reports of 159 measles cases, including eight outbreaks. An outbreak in New York City included 58 cases, making it the largest outbreak reported in the U.S. since 1996.

In the U.S., measles elimination — absence of year-round transmission — was declared in 2000. However, measles continues to be imported into the U.S. from other countries.

Of the reported cases, 99% were import-associated and 91% were in people who were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. Of the 131 cases who had measles and were unvaccinated, 92 (79%) cited a philosophical objection to vaccination.

“Unvaccinated people place themselves and others in their communities at risk for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” the report authors noted.

Vaccination rates

For children ages 19 to 35 months, 2012 vaccination rates were 92.8% for polio, 90.8% for measles, mumps and rubella, 90.2% for varicella and 89.7% for hepatitis B (three doses). The Healthy People 2020 target figure is 90%.

Coverage rates were in the 80s for other vaccines: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, 82.5%; pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (four doses), 81.9%; Haemophilus influenzae (full series), 80.9%.

Rates were quite a bit lower for the rotavirus vaccine, at 68.6%, and hepatitis A, 53%.

The authors cited the Vaccines for Children Program, which “has been successful in removing differences in coverage between children living above and below the poverty level that once existed for vaccines such as MMR, polio, and HepB ; however, coverage among children living below the poverty level still lags behind coverage of children living at or above the poverty level for newer vaccines (HepA and rotavirus) and vaccines that require four doses to complete the series.”

Vaccination rates report: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6236a1.htm

Measles report: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6236a2.htm


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