Teen vaccination rates continue to lag

While adolescent coverage levels rose substantially over a four year period, the vaccination rate still fell well short of 100 percent, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From 2006 to 2009, the percentage of U.S. teens who received at least one tetanus/diphtheria vaccine climbed fivefold to 56 percent, Shannon Stokley, the lead author of the study, and her colleagues said, MedPage Today reports. In that same time period, meningitis vaccinations rose from 12 percent to 54 percent. From 2007 to 2009, rates for at least one vaccination for human papillomavirus increased in girls from 25 percent to 44 percent.
The National Immunization Survey Teen was launched in 2006 to assess vaccination coverage in adolescents 13 to 17 years of age. Stokley and her colleagues analyzed data from the survey, which started publishing state-level results in 2008 after initially giving only national totals. The time periods covered in the study corresponded to the years following the three vaccines added to the recommended adolescent schedule - acellular pertussis in combination with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, meningococcal conjugate and the human papillomavirus vaccine for girls only.
The researchers found that while each vaccine increased steadily over time on a national level, coverage varied from state to state. Coverage was over 70 percent for Td/TdaP and MenACWY in multiple East Coast states such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. For those same vaccines, coverage was less than 70 percent for many Western states like Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona. No state had coverage of over 70 percent for single dose HPV vaccination.
When parents were asked why a vaccination schedule was not followed, the top three reasons for skipping Td/TdaP and MenACWY vaccines were lack of knowledge about the vaccine, lack of healthcare provider recommendation and a parental decision that the vaccine was not needed.
Stokely and her colleagues asserted that there was room for improvement in adolescent vaccination coverage, which might be achievable with simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines, increased parental education and awareness and healthcare provider endorsement.