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CDC: Vaccination Rates for Toddlers Rising

Survey Also Shows Slight Uptick in Children Who Received No Vaccinations Last Year
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Sept. 1, 2011 -- After dipping in 2009, national vaccination rates for toddlers increased slightly or held steady at high levels last year, according to a new report from the CDC.

Results of the 2010 National Immunization Survey for children aged 19-35 months are published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The survey found that at least 90% of toddlers across the U.S. are getting recommended vaccines to protect against diseases like chickenpox, measles, polio, bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, and hepatitis B.

And while many health disparities exist in preventive medicine, vaccination for kids doesn’t appear to be one of them. The survey shows that toddlers arebeing vaccinated at similarly high rates regardless of race or ethnicity.

Increases in Measles, Whooping Cough, Hib Vaccination Rates

The number of young children getting at least one dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine rose from 90% in 2009 to 91.5% in 2010.

And more toddlers got all four of the doses of the combination vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) that they’re supposed to have by 18 months of age.

That was particularly heartening to health officials, who are battling some of the worst outbreaks of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) seen in years.

“The outbreaks we’re seeing now just serve as a reminder that we need to keep children and teens vaccinated,” says Lance E. Rodewald, MD, a pediatrician who is director of the CDC’s Immunization Services Division.

Another bright spot, Rodewald said, was a nearly 7% increase in the number of young children being vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae type B(Hib) bacteria, which can cause a range of severe illnesses.

“When I was a physician in a pediatric emergency department, every month, we would see 2-3 babies come through with Hib. It was a leading cause of death and deafness,” Rodewald says. When the vaccine was introduced, “the disease basically melted away,” he says.

The jump in Hib vaccination rates from 2009 to 2010 likely reflected a nationwide catchup in recommended booster shots that had been suspended during a two-year shortage of that vaccine.

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