CDC data show slight dip in some toddler vaccinations

Wednesday, August 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Slightly fewer toddlers appear to have gotten some standard vaccinations on time last year, after years of improvement in immunization rates, new government data show.

In 2000, 77.6 percent of toddlers had received all the recommended doses of vaccine against seven diseases _ polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella.

That's a slight drop from 1999, when 79.9 percent of toddlers had received those vaccinations, says the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccination coverage varies widely in different states, meaning ``a substantial number of children are not fully protected in every community,'' Dr. Walter Orenstein, CDC's immunization chief, said Wednesday.

A draft of state data, which the CDC is to publish Thursday, shows North Carolina had the highest vaccination rate for those diseases, 87.6 percent. Texas had the lowest, 69.5 percent.

``Reduced vaccination coverage may be the result of missed opportunities to vaccinate and from incomplete or scattered vaccination records,'' Orenstein said. He urged health workers to ``vaccinate at every opportunity.''

However, the CDC also found more toddlers getting vaccinated against chickenpox _ 67.8 percent in 2000, up from 57.5 percent the previous year _ and hepatitis B _ 90.3 percent in 2000, up from 88.1 percent.

Government health officials recommend that by age 2, children receive about 20 doses of vaccine against 11 diseases.