More than 80% of U.S. Toddlers Received All Recommended Vaccinations in 2004, CDC Reports
Childhood vaccination rates in 2004 exceeded federal goals for 2010, with 80.9% of U.S. residents younger than age three receiving the complete series of recommended immunizations, CDC officials reported on Tuesday, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports (AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/26). Stephen Cochi, acting director of the CDC National Immunization Program, said this is the first time vaccination rates for toddlers have exceeded the goal of 80% set by Healthy People 2010, a federal program designed to improve health nationwide by increasing vaccination rates and implementing other strategies (Manning, USA Today, 7/27).
Health officials reported that childhood vaccination rates increased from 79.4% in 2003 to 80.9% in 2004 (AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/26). CDC reported a 72.8% vaccination rate in 2000 (CQ HealthBeat, 7/26). In addition, 87.5% of toddlers had received the chicken pox vaccine and 73.2% had on-time doses of the pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar, which protects against meningitis and ear infections (AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/26).
According to the report, state vaccination rates ranged from 89.1% in Massachusetts to 68.4% in Nevada (CQ HealthBeat, 7/26). Health officials also noted that white children have higher vaccination rates than Latino and black children nationwide (AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/26).
Cochi said that the increased vaccination rates are "a tribute to the fact that parents recognize the benefits and values of these vaccines and ... are protecting their children," He added, "We can't be complacent. There is much more work to be done" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/26). Cochi said work must be done to eliminate vaccine shortages, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and address "unfound fears about vaccine safety, which in recent years seem to be running rampant."
In addition, the National Partnership for Immunization is working to raise awareness about vaccination in adults. The goal is for 90% of adults age 65 and older to receive annual flu shots and one dose of pneumonia vaccine, he says. Currently 70% in that age group are vaccinated against flu each year and 56% against pneumonia (USA Today, 7/27).
David Neumann, executive director of NPI, said, "The bottom line seems to be that we lack an appropriate infrastructure that supports adult immunizations" (Nurko, Cox News Service/Arizona Republic, 7/27).