CDC reports vaccination rates remain high

Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that coverage levels for most of the older vaccines for small children stayed high last year.

CDC officials called the findings reassuring but did note that some areas may have sizable groups of children who are vulnerable to measles, CIDRAP News reports. CDC officials also expressed concern over pertussis coverage in light of the current epidemic in California, where nine children have died so far.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told CIDRAP News that immunization rates for children between 19 and 35 months of age is high. She said that fewer than one percent of children did not receive any vaccinations.

“Today's report is generally very reassuring despite concerns we've seen in the past about whether parents are continuing to have their children vaccinated,” Schuchat told CIDRAP News.

The findings came from the CDC's 2009 National Immunization Survey. CDC officials report that the survey had a 64 percent response rate and included 17,313 children nationwide.

According to the survey results, coverage for the hepatitis B birth dose improved from 55.3 percent in 2009 to 60.8 percent in 2009. Hepatitis A coverage increased from 40.4 to 46.6 percent. Coverage for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was up less than one point to 80.4 percent. This year marked the first year that the rotavirus vaccination was included in the survey. Its coverage level was at 43.9 percent, CIDRAP News reports.

Schuchat said the drop in measles vaccine coverage was not large. According to the results, measles, mumps and rubella coverage dropped from 92.1 percent to 90.0 percent.

“On the other hand, nationally measles coverage rates can be high—90 percent is the target—and you can still have communities with large pockets of susceptible children,” Schuchat told CIDRAP News.