Hepatitis A vaccination rates slowing

The surge in childhood vaccination coverage for hepatitis A that began in 2006 has since fallen off, the July 2 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reveals.

The push for higher coverage, according to a story by HealthDay.com, began as the result of a 2006 recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that urged all children between the ages of 12 and 23 months be immunized.

In a study of data from eight CDC Immunization Information System sentinel sites over three years beginning in 2006, the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services estimated annual coverage trends. The researchers found that children receiving average vaccination coverage of one dose or more spiked from 17 percent in 2006 to 47 percent in 2009. Those receiving two or more doses, considered an average full vaccination, rose from one percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2009.

Overall, between 2006 and 2007 a 73 percent increase in coverage was recorded. Since then, however, that number has reached a plateau, and in some geographical areas, declined. The report recommends that immunization programs and vaccine providers encourage all children over the age of 12 months be given the hepatitis A vaccine, noting that since the vaccination push, overall rates of hepatitis A have declined.