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CDC Report: Vaccine Coverage High in U.S., But Measles Outbreaks Raise Concern

Agency warns of disease imported from other countries (September 13)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that vaccination coverage in U.S. children remains high, although a resurgence of measles in unvaccinated children and adults has caused some concern.

According to an article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the results of the 2012 National Immunization Survey indicate that vaccination coverage among children aged 19 to 35 months continues to be near or above the Healthy People 2020 target of 90% for many diseases.

The vaccination rate among children born between 2009 and May 2011 for poliovirus was about 93%; for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), nearly 91%; and for hepatitis B (HepB) and varicella, about 90%.

Coverage was lower for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP), at 83% percent; for the full series of Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), at 81%; and for four doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), at less than 82%.

Only 53% of children were vaccinated against hepatitis A, and only 69% received the rotavirus vaccine.

According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the agency is aware of 159 cases of measles this year — the second largest number of measles cases in the U.S. since the disease was eliminated in 2000. The patients’ ages ranged from birth to 61 years. Most of the cases (82%) were unvaccinated.

“Measles, as we know, is highly contagious and can lead to serious complications and even death,” Schuchat said. “We need very high rates of immunization to protect the most vulnerable — children too young to be vaccinated and those who can’t be vaccinated due to health conditions.”

According to Schuchat, all of the measles cases reported in the U.S. in 2013 were associated with importations from other countries.

Sources: MMWR; September 13, 2013; and CDC; September 12, 2013.

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