Racial Disparities in Childhood Immunization Coverage Rates Closing
Overall rates remain high for all children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today announced that 2005 childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children between 19 and 35 months of age remain at or near record highs. For the first time in the past ten years, rates for the full series of recommended vaccines did not vary significantly by race and ethnicity.
According to CDC’s annual National Immunization Survey (NIS) released today, estimated immunization coverage rates for the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series ranged from 79.5 percent for children of multiple race, 77.1 percent for Asian; 76.3 percent for black; 76 percent for white, and 75.6 percent for Hispanic children. Coverage for the previous series that excluded varicella vaccine (4:3:1:3:3) was 10 percent lower for black children in 2002, compared to 3 percent in 2005. For Hispanic children coverage for the 4:3:1:3:3 series was 7.5 percent lower in 2000, compared to 3 percent in 2005. The 4:3:1:3:3:1 series includes four doses of Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP), three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles-containing vaccine, three doses of Hib vaccine, three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, and one dose of varicella vaccine.
“These results are terrific news, especially since there are virtually no differences with respect to race and ethnicity for this series of vaccines,” said Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). “We’ve been working hard, with many partners, to ensure that all children have access to recommended vaccines, and these results show we’ve made significant progress.
The federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program has helped to substantially reduce the immunization disparity gap and contributed to the relatively high coverage levels,” according to Schuchat. “Strong efforts to promote childhood immunizations are being made on local, state and national levels, but we need to maintain our vigilance.”
In addition to VFC, which provides free vaccines for uninsured and underinsured children, CDC has worked with its partners to develop and provide education programs and media campaigns for Spanish-speaking and black parents. Since 1994, CDC has created an annual Spanish-language national public service campaign with advertising for radio and television broadcast and newspaper and magazine placement, as well as posters, brochures and education kits for distribution through health clinics and community based organizations.
Another source of vaccine funding is the 317 program. The Section 317 grant program works to ensure that children, adolescents, and adults receive appropriate immunizations by partnering with healthcare providers in the public and private sectors. Most children served through Section 317 are underinsured or their parents are working poor who cannot afford the deductibles required to fully vaccinate their children.
Other significant findings from the 2005 NIS indicate that substantial progress has been made in five years after the introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) despite past shortages of the vaccine. Coverage estimates for 2005 indicate that more than 50 percent of the nation’s children are fully vaccinated with PCV and more than 80 percent have received at least three of the four dose series. Estimates for four doses of PCV most likely remain low because prior shortages affected children included in the 2005 NIS.
In addition to national estimates, the 2005 National Immunization Survey (NIS) provides vaccination coverage estimates among children 19 to 35 months of age for each of the 50 states and 27 selected urban areas.
As in previous years, there was wide variation in coverage levels among states and urban areas, with coverage for the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series ranging from 90.7 percent in Massachusetts to 62.9 percent in Vermont and, in urban areas, from 84.5 percent for Jefferson County, Alabama (Birmingham) to 58.8 percent for Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas).
CDC uses a quarterly random-digit-dialing sample of telephone numbers for each of the 77 survey areas to collect vaccination data for all age-eligible children 19 to 35 months of age. The complete 2005 National Immunization Survey data will be released with the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on Thursday, September 14.
For more information about childhood immunizations visit www.cdc.gov/nip.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES