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AAP Pushes for More Immunization Coverage

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a revised statement calling for continued efforts to increase immunization rates of children, teens and young adults, urging doctors to work together to ensure that all patients receive necessary vaccinations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a revised policy statement advocating for continued efforts to increase immunization rates of children, teens and young adults.

In the statement, which is published in the June issue of Pediatrics, the AAP urges pediatricians to “work individually and collectively at the local, state, and national levels to ensure that all children without a valid contraindication receive all childhood immunizationson time.”

On average, 90% of children ages 19 to 35 months have received the recommended doses of most vaccines, according to data from the 2007 National Immunization Survey. However, maintaining and improving this level of vaccination remains a challenge for pediatricians due to several factors, including a dramatic increase in the acquisition cost of vaccines, coupled with a lack of adequate payment to practitioners to buy and administer vaccines; unanticipated manufacturing and delivery problems that have caused significant shortages of various vaccine products; and the rise of a public antivaccination movement.

While some of the data is positive, pockets of under-immunized children still exist throughout the United States, and immunization rates for adolescents continue to lag behind the goals set by the Healthy People 2010 program. The AAP is asking pediatricians and other healthcare professionals to implement reminder systems for patients and seek out more opportunities to provide immunizations. The organization also advocates reform in vaccine distribution and payment systems and participation in vaccine-purchasing pools.