9. Immunization Rates for Young Children
Immunizing young children protects them from devastating and life-threatening diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Protecting children from these (and other) preventable diseases helps support children’s physical health—a key component to healthy development and school readiness. In addition, immunization rates often are a good marker for the degree to which children are receiving other forms of primary and preventive health services.
What Can the Data Tell Us?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Survey presents national data on immunization broken down by poverty level and race/ethnicity (Table 17). About 70 percent of U.S. children ages 19-35 months are fully immunized. Children living in poverty are less likely to be fully immunized than children at or above poverty. The percentage of U.S. children (19-35 months) who are fully immunized also varies by race and ethnicity. Black and Hispanic children are less likely to be fully immunized than their white or Asian counterparts. Viewing data by race/ethnicity and poverty level makes it easier to identify groups at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases and evaluate the effectiveness of programs designed to increase coverage.