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Majority of U.S. Babies get Vaccinated

Update Date: Aug 29, 2014 10:01 AM EDT

A new federal report announced that the majority of babies born in the United States get vaccinated against potentially fatal diseases. The report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stressed that even though the vaccination rates are high, people can still do more to get them even higher.

"Nationally, vaccination among children 19 to 35 months of age remains stable or has increased for all of the recommended vaccines, and that's really good news," said Dr. Melinda Wharton, acting director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases reported by WebMD. "There is still room for improvement. Coverage is not as high as we would like it to be for doses of vaccines and boosters given in the second year of life."

The researchers found that more than 90 percent of children are getting the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), polio, hepatitis B and chickenpox (varicella) vaccines. From 2012 to 2013, the vaccination rate for rotavirus, which is an infection that causes severe gastrointestinal complication, increased from 69 percent to 87 percent. During the same time period the vaccination rates for one or more doses of hepatitis A and hepatitis B increased from 82 to 83 percent and 72 to 74 percent respectively.

"Among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths during their lifetimes," the report stated.

The researchers added that even though the rates for the initial vaccines are high, the rates for booster vaccines tend to fall short. The booster vaccines that two-year-olds typically do not get are the DTaP vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, Hib, which prevents haemophilus influenza type b and the PCV vaccine, which prevents pneumococcal disease. Around less than one percent of children are not vaccinated due to parents' concerns about the dangers of vaccines.

"We're not doing as well as we'd like getting some of the booster doses given in the second year of life," Wharton said reported by the Huffington Post. "For some of the new vaccines, coverage is still not as high as it could be."

One way to improve the vaccination rate is to use electronic medical records that can help doctors monitor what vaccines are needed and when to administer them.

The report, "National, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19-35 Months - United States, 2013," was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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