Health

Less disparity in childhood vaccination rates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 2, 2006

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The racial and ethnic gaps for childhood vaccine coverage have disappeared, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"That is very exciting news, because in the past these gaps have been major," said Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The big picture also looks good as immunization rates for all children are at or near record highs, she said at a Sept. 14 briefing on the National Immunization Survey, an annual telephone interview sample of more than 17,000 children.

The survey focused on the use of six vaccines: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; measles, mumps and rubella; Haemophilus influenzae type b; hepatitis B and varicella. But it also revealed that there had been a significant increase in the administration of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, first licensed in 2000.

Immunization rates continue to vary from state to state, said Dr. Schuchat. Massachusetts had the highest coverage at 90.7% for 2005; Vermont had the lowest at 62.9%.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/10/02/hlbf1002.htm.

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