For Immediate Release
August 30, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


Fewer Kansas Children Being Immunized

Kansas’ immunization rates declined in 2006 according to a national report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The annual National Immunization Survey (NIS) provides state-level estimates of preschool immunization coverage among 19 to 35-month-old children. This year’s results mark the first year Kansas’ rates have declined since 2002.

Despite this year’s decline, Kansas children have been immunized at increasing rates over the last five years. The rate for the 4:3:1:3:3 series has increased 12.4 percent since 2002. The rate for the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series increased 15 percent for the same time period.

“This year’s survey results confirm that the health system is broken,” said KDHE Secretary Roderick L. Bremby. “Too many gaps exist that prevent all of our children from getting the immunizations they need, when they need them. Working with our partners to ensure that Kansas children are immunized on time remains one the state’s top priorities,” he said. “We need to ensure access for all children. Coverage for all children 0-5 is a great place to start.”

In order to address one of the gaps, KDHE is drafting regulations that would require immunization verification for daycare enrollment. “By requiring immunizations for children enrolling in daycare, we expect to have similar results that school entry requirements have produced,” said Bremby. “A recent study by the CDC shows that Kansas’ school entry rates exceed the 95 percent Healthy People 2010 goals for all required immunizations except varicella.”

Immunization rates for the 4:3:1 series (four doses of DTaP, three doses of polio vaccine, and one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine) dropped 3.9 percent to 83.6 percent in 2006.

Immunization rates for the 4:3:1:3 series (four doses of DTaP, three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and three doses of haemophilus influenzae type b) dropped to 81 percent in 2006, a decrease of 5.2 percent from the 2005 data.

Rates for the 4:3:1:3:3 series (four doses of DTaP, three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, three doses of hepatitis B, and three doses of haemophilus influenzae type b) decreased to 79.2 percent. This marks a 4.7 percent decrease from 2005.

Rates for the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series (four doses of DTaP, three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, three doses of haemophilus influenzae type b, three doses of Hepatitis B, and one dose of varicella) dropped 1.9 percent to 70.1 percent for 2006.

Rates for several individual immunizations increased according to the survey. Pneumococcal rates increased 15.4 percent and 10.5 percent for the series of four and three doses respectively in 2006. The rate for the hepatitis B series increased 3.1 percent, while the varicella rate rose by 1.2 percent.

Since 2003, KDHE with its partners have made many changes to the Kansas immunization system, including incorporating recommendations established by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. The following actions have be implemented aimed at increasing the state’s immunization rates.

I am disappointed in the survey results, but I have confidence that long-term changes to the Kansas immunization system will result in achieving and sustaining the rates at or above the Healthy People 2010 19-35 month immunization goal of 90 percent for the 4:3:1:3:3 series,” said Bremby. “The effect of school entry requirements gives me confidence that the results are achievable.”

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