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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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Most U.S. Babies Get Their Vaccines: CDC

But booster shots and second doses lag for 2-year-olds, report finds


While initial vaccination rates are high, getting second doses and booster shots that are needed when children are 2 years old remains a challenge, Wharton said.

These vaccines include the DTaP vaccine, which prevents diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough); Hib, which protects against haemophilus influenzae type b, which can cause severe diseases like meningitis -- an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord; and the PCV vaccine, which prevents pneumococcal disease, which can trigger ear infections and meningitis.

Poor children are less likely to get booster shots, and the full series of polio, rotavirus and hepatitis B vaccines, according to the report.

Wharton said most insurance plans cover vaccines. People who can't afford them can turn to the federal Vaccines for Children Program, which provides vaccines for free.

Vaccine coverage also varies by state and vaccine, the CDC report found.

When the researchers looked at immunizations against 11 different diseases -- including chickenpox, measles and polio -- coverage ranged from a high of 82 percent in Rhode Island to 57 percent in Arkansas. Also, 17 states had less than 90 percent coverage with the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine.

For one disease, measles, which has made a recurrence in the United States, national coverage with at least one dose of the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine was 92 percent. While this seems high, one in 12 children did not receive the first dose of the MMR vaccine on time, putting lots of kids at risk for measles, the CDC noted.

As of Aug. 22, there had been 592 measles cases reported in the United States this year, the most since 1994, according to the CDC.

Measles is most often introduced into the United States by unvaccinated Americans who travel overseas to areas where measles is endemic. Measles can spread quickly in communities with unvaccinated and under-vaccinated people, the CDC pointed out.

Dr. Adriana Cadilla, a pediatrician at Miami Children's Hospital, said, "We still have a ways to go, but it's good to know that we're headed in the right direction" with childhood vaccinations.

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