CDC: More teens getting their recommended shots

An increasing number of U.S. teens are getting immunizations against HPV, meningitis and other infectious diseases, the CDC says. However, as in 2008, there was wide variation in adolescent vaccination coverage among state and local areas.

The survey of more than 20,000 teens between the ages of 13-17 found that in 2009, there was an uptick in the percentage of those who had received vaccines routinely recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds. The survey specifically found that:

  • For one dose of the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (Tdap), coverage went up about 15 points to about 56 percent;

  • For one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, coverage went up about 12 points to about 54 percent; and

  • For girls who received at least one dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, coverage increased seven points to about 44 percent. However, for girls who received the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine, coverage was only about 27 percent (a nine percent increase).

For one dose of HPV vaccine, experts observed no differences between racial and ethnic groups. However, coverage was higher among teens living in poverty compared with those living at or above the poverty level, the CDC notes. For the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine, differences were observed between racial/ethnic groups, including significantly lower coverage for blacks and Hispanics versus whites.

According to the CDC's Anne Schuchat, the data show that more parents are deciding to protect their children from serious diseases, but there is room for improvement. "Pertussis outbreaks in several states and an increase in pertussis-related infant deaths in California highlight how important it is for pre-teens to receive the Tdap booster," Schuchat says in a statement. "It is important for teens and adults to get a one-time dose of Tdap to protect themselves and those around them from whooping cough."

California has been particularly hard hit by whooping cough this year. Safety fears have caused some parents to refuse to get their children vaccinated, and some believe failure to do so may have contributed to the whooping cough outbreak, which may become the worst 50 years.

Reuters notes there are two HPV vaccines--GlaxosmithKline's Cervarix and Merck's Gardasil. In addition, Novartis and Sanofi make vaccines against meningitis and several companies make Tdap vaccines.

- read the CDC release
- get more from Reuters

ALSO: The European Commission has approved an amendment to the licence of GlaxoSmithKline's cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix to better reflect the scope of protection it offers. Marketing authorization for the vaccine has been adjusted to show that its efficacy goes beyond the HPV strains 16 and 18 to provide protection against 80 percent of all cervical cancers. Report