HealthDay News — In 2017 to 2018, there were disparities in vaccination coverage for children up to 24 months by race/ethnicity, poverty status, and health insurance status, according to research published in the Oct. 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Holly A. Hill, M.D., Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined vaccination coverage by age 24 months among U.S. children born in 2017 and 2018 compared with those born in 2015 and 2016.

The researchers found that coverage was highest nationally for ≥3 doses of poliovirus vaccine, ≥3 doses of hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, ≥1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and ≥1 dose of varicella vaccine (92.7, 91.9, 91.6, and 90.9 percent, respectively). The lowest coverage was seen for ≥2 doses of influenza vaccine (60.6 percent). Compared with children born in 2015 to 2016, children born in 2017 to 2018 had coverage that was 2.1 to 4.5 percentage points higher for rotavirus vaccine, ≥1 dose of hepatitis A vaccine, HepB birth dose, and ≥2 doses of influenza vaccine. By age 24 months, only 1 percent of children had received no vaccinations. Coverage disparities were seen for race/ethnicity, poverty status, and health insurance status. Children who were not privately insured had lower coverage with most vaccines.

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“Persistent disparities in vaccination coverage by health insurance status, race and ethnicity, and poverty status indicate that improvement is needed to achieve equity in the national childhood vaccination program,” the authors write.

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