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U.S. toddler vaccination rates mostly exceed 90%


Immunization of U.S. children ages 19 to 35 months remains high, with coverage for many routine vaccines reaching or surpassing 90%, according to the 2011 National Immunization Survey as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccination coverage for many vaccine-preventable diseases increased from the previous year’s survey for more recently recommended vaccines, including coverage for rotavirus, hepatitis A and Haemophilus influenza type B.

Although coverage did not yet reach the Healthy People 2020 objectives of 90% for these vaccines, the reduction in disease has been substantial, according to the CDC. Incidence of hepatitis A in the United States has decreased an estimated 93% since the vaccine became recommended, for example. Hospitalizations associated with rotavirus infection among infants and young children have decreased between 66% and 89%.

Although coverage with four or more doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is not yet at 90%, the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in children younger than 5 caused by the serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae contained in the heptavalent PCV had decreased by 99% by 2007. Incidence of all invasive pneumococcal disease is expected to decrease even further since the introduction of the 13-valent PCV in 2010.

Vaccination coverage against measles, mumps and rubella, poliovirus, varicella and the full series of hepatitis B remained stable at higher than 90%. Less than 1% of toddlers had received no vaccines at all, according to the survey.

Coverage differences by race/ethnicity were not seen for most vaccines. However, white and black children living below the poverty level had lower rates than those living above the poverty level and lower rates than Hispanic children.

Although coverage nationally is at or near targeted levels for most vaccines, vaccination coverage varies by state. Fifteen states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming) have immunization rates lower than the HealthyPeople 2020 goal of 90% for measles vaccination, for example.

The CDC urges parents, community leaders and public health officials not to become complacent about the importance of vaccination because every community and state needs high immunization coverage among children to keep them protected and to prevent outbreaks of serious and highly contagious vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles. Parents should give their children the best protection from vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring children are vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule.

The report appeared in the Sept. 7 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To read it, visit


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