Reports: Vaccine Coverage Among U.S. Children Remains High

The CDC recently issued reports detailing the number of U.S. children who are receiving their vaccines.

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CLEVELAND – It’s always best to prevent a disease rather than try to treat it after it occurs, and thanks to childhood vaccines, many dangerous diseases are no longer a threat to communities in the U.S.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued reports detailing the number of U.S. children who are receiving their vaccines.

One report focused on vaccine rates and exemptions among kindergarteners.

Researchers found that the median vaccine coverage rate for the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) immunization among kindergarteners was 95.1 percent.

The rates for the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella was also high – at 94.3 percent among these children.

The other report focused on toddlers between the ages of 19-35 months.

While vaccine rates were also high for these children, the report shows that several of the ‘early life’ vaccines, which require boosters, had lower rates of coverage.

According to Frank Esper, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease expert at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, some children get their initial vaccines, but are not brought back to get the required boosters.

He said it’s important for parents to check with their child’s pediatrician to make sure they are up to date on all vaccines during their annual well-visit.

Dr. Esper said the most important thing for parents to know is that vaccines are safe. And while it may seem like toddlers get a lot of shots in those first few years of life, they are necessary and life-saving, because of the diseases that they prevent.

“These vaccines are well shown to be safe,” he said. “We have tested them; we have followed children who have received these vaccines, we know how safe they are. The diseases they protect against are bad illnesses that land children in the hospital, and can lead to long-term ramifications if they get these diseases.” 

Dr. Esper said the report also showed that children who had no vaccines were more likely to live in rural areas and be uninsured, which highlights the importance of getting children in rural areas access to the healthcare system to get them protected.

He said that although the reports showed a slight increase in children who received exemptions from receiving the vaccines, the amount of people in the U.S. who refuse all vaccines is still very low.

“There’s not a lot of people who refuse all vaccines, and I think that’s very important, because sometimes it sounds like there’s a lot of people who say ‘no’ to vaccines, and that’s not true at all,” said Dr. Esper. There’s only a very small fraction of people – less than two percent – who say no to all vaccines.”

The complete report is available via the CDC.

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