Health & Science

CDC Says National Childhood Vaccine Rates Good, While Texas Issues Warning On Whooping Cough Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control reports that national childhood vaccinations rates remain steady, but could be better especially when it comes to vaccines that are newly-recommended.

Every year the CDC studies what percentage of young children are getting the right vaccines.

Although some are single dose and others come in a series, the vaccines collectively protect against 14 infectious diseases including measles, polio and hepatitis.

Dr. Iyabode Beysolow is with the CDC:

“The good news is that in general is the 2011 rates for children between ages a year and half to just under three years of age remain high. So parents, health-care professionals are doing a great job protecting kids from these serious diseases.”

Beysolow says vaccination rates for Texas and Houston are comparable to national rates. But she says the rates tend to be lower when it comes to newer vaccines:

“Nationally we still have work to do with some of the newer vaccines, to make sure those rates also come up like the hepatitis A vaccine, the rotavirus vaccine. For the older vaccines we are hitting our mark for the 90 percent coverage rate or higher.”

In most cases, children are getting all or at least some of the vaccines they need.

Beysolow says less than 1 percent are getting nothing at all.

Since all of the vaccines are available for free if children are uninsured, Beysolow says it’s probably because parents don’t know or don’t want to vaccinate their children.

But she says even delaying a few vaccines is a bad idea.

“Because children can safely receive all the recommended vaccines according to the schedule. We encourage that parents vaccinate according to the schedule, and vaccinate on time, when they delay vaccination they’re putting their child at risk for disease.”

Texas has just issued a new warning about pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

There have been more than 1,000 cases this year, including six deaths. Five of the dead included newborns too young to get the vaccine themselves.

State officials say parents, older siblings, and other adults need to be fully vaccinated to protect newborns like these.

From the KUHF Health and Science Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.