Vaccination against hepatitis A is still incomplete in the U.S.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention (CDC) shows that in general only three of 10 children of the country receives the two doses of the vaccine against hepatitis A .

In some states, especially those in the south, west central and east-this proportion is even lower: three of 10 children receiving one dose and two out of 10 receive a full course of immunization.

Only in two states of the country 85 percent of children had received full immunity program.

“One reason for this low rate of vaccination against hepatitis A in some states is the background of his recommendation,” said Dr. Christina Dorell, lead author of the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, and researcher at the CDC.Vaccination against hepatitis A is still incomplete in the U.S.

In 1999, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC recommended the vaccine to children in 11 states in the western United States, the area with the highest rate of infection. In six other states, the committee advised “consider” its use.

In 2006, routine vaccination was recommended for 33 states, but only for children 1 year. In adolescents, it should only “consider” its use.

Infection with hepatitis A causes liver inflammation, can cause fatigue, poor appetite, nausea and jaundice. The CDC estimates that each year there are about 21,000 new cases.

The team interviewed more than 20,000 parents in the country and reviewed the immunization records of their children’s pediatricians. Children were born between 1991 and 1997.

Immunization rates were highest in the first 11 states to which the commission of the CDC had recommended routine vaccination: 60 percent of children had completed the two-dose schedule when they were between 13 and 17 . In Alaska and Oklahoma, that percentage was 85 percent.

In these states, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Native children were more likely than whites to be immunized

Dorell said these groups were originally selected to receive the vaccine against hepatitis A because it concentrated the highest rates of infection.

“The great efforts in these communities by providing more coverage. So it would seem that these groups, the most risky, are the most are being vaccinated,” said Dorell told Reuters Health.

In the six states where the recommendation to consider the use of the vaccine is effective since 1999, 39 percent of teens received full immunization.

And in the 33 states with the same recommendation for adolescents since 2006, only 16 percent of this age group are vaccinated with two doses.

South Carolina and Mississippi were the states with the lowest rates of adolescent immunization.

The vaccine costs between $ 14 and $ 30 per dose. It is unknown how many adolescents should be vaccinated for most is protected by what is known as “herd effect”.

Most infections with hepatitis A occurs in young children.

Previous studies have shown that infections decrease in other children and adults as vaccination rates against hepatitis A increase in boys, Dorell said.

Between 1995 and 2008, there was a 92 percent decrease in rates of hepatitis A from the vaccine.

If all children were vaccinated one year, “could sustain the progress made in reducing infection rates in the U.S. in the last two decades.”


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