They also uncovered the disturbing fact that nearly 10 percent of the children did not receive the single dose of measles vaccine recommended at age 12-to-15 months. This may leave 85,000 African-American children susceptible to the disease until as late as school entry.
POOR LEFT BEHIND
When it comes to vaccination coverage, the gap between the haves and have-nots remains despite increases in immunization during the 1990s, another analysis of the NIS data shows.
Vaccination coverage for children living above the poverty level rose to 81.4 percent in 1999, while it was about 75 percent for children living near or in poverty. Among children in severe poverty, defined as less than 50 percent of the poverty level, 71.4 percent received all their immunization shots, report R. Monina Klevens, D.D.S., M.P.H., and co-author Luman of the CDC.
This study describes persistent undervaccination among children living in poverty, indicating that not all U.S. preschool children were equally protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, they say, adding that the gap in the late 1990s was similar to that seen in the early 1990s.
The study also showed that coverage rates among poor children dropped in several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Diego, although the decreases were not statistically significant. This is worrisome because groups of children who are undervaccinated are susceptible to outbreaks and can transmit disease to others in the community, they say.
They also note that this study showed that children living near poverty had coverage levels similar to children living below poverty. It is reasonable to speculate that these children are underinsured and potentially represent the families of the working poor.
To help resolve this problem, the investigators suggest that communities identify bariers poor families face and implement strategies to
Contact: National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, CDC
Center for the Advancement of Health