Govt.: Vaccination Rate Sets Record

Friday, July 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) — The nation's childhood immunization rate reached the highest level on record in 1999.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that more than 80 percent of toddlers got five of the six recommended vaccinations.

``Thanks in large part to these high immunization rates, we have seen a breathtaking decline in suffering and death from most vaccine-preventable diseases,'' Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said.

The rates for most vaccinations changed only slightly from the year before, though the chicken pox vaccine, first available in 1995, jumped from 43.2 percent of toddlers in 1998 to 59.4 percent.

The immunization rates for the other diseases — measles-mumps-rubella, polio, Haemophilus influenza type b, diptheria-tetanus-pertussis and hepatitis B — ranged from 88.1 percent for hepatitis B to 95.9 percent for DTP.

The 50-state survey included interviews with the parents of 34,442 children 19 to 35 months old.

``The good news is that we have sustained high immunization coverage in our preschool populations,'' said Dr. Walt Orenstein, director of the CDC's immunization program. ``The concern is that each day 11,000 babies are born and they start at zero.''

Vermont had the highest vaccination rate at 90.5 percent in 1999, and Oregon had the lowest at 72.3 percent.

Of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, Houston had the lowest rate at 66.5 percent and Dade County, Fla., had the highest at 86.7 percent.


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