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The Healthy People 2010 objective for the complete series of routinely recommended childhood vaccinations is immunization of at least 90 percent of 19- to 35-month-olds with the full series of vaccines. Data released from CDC’s 2002-2003 National Immunization Survey revealed that 77.9 percent of children ages 19-35 months have received the recommended 4:3:1:3:3 series of vaccines (4 DTaP, 3 polio, 1 MCV, 3 Hib, 3 hepatitis B). In the past 5 years, the greatest increases in vaccination rates have occurred with the hepatitis B vaccine and the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, which was added to the schedule in 1996. Since 1997, the vaccination rate for hepatitis B has increased by almost 9 percent to 91.9 percent in 2002. The varicella vaccination rate rose to 82.5 percent, which represents a more than two-fold increase since 1997. Despite this progress, approximately 900,000 children under 2 years of age have not received the recommended immunization series to be fully protected.1 Among children aged 19-35 months, non-Hispanic Black children have the lowest immunization rates of any racial/ethnic group and they are consistently below the national average for each of the major vaccines.

In April 2004, the CDC published an updated immunization schedule (see facing page). The 2004 schedule continues to encourage the routine use of hepatitis B vaccine for all infants before hospital discharge and also recommends the expansion of routine influenza immunization to include all children 6 to 23 months of age.

Graph: Estimated Vaccination Rates Among Children[d]

1American Academy of Pediatrics. (2003). Vaccination Fact Sheets from the Childhood Immunization Support Program (CISP). Elk Grove Village, Illinois: AAP.