Despite concerns of some parents about the safety of vaccines, more young children in the U.S. are receiving immunizations for preventable diseases.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that last year 91.5 percent of children ages 19 months to 35 months received at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine. That was up from 90 percent the year before.
The survey also noted increases last year in the percentages of young children receiving other recommended vaccines, including the immunization for the Haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib, bacteria, which causes meningitis. And the CDC found that more toddlers were getting the full four doses of the combination vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, or DTaP.
As WebMD reports, the trend was good news for health officials, who are battling some of the worst outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, or pertussis, in years.
“Today’s report is reassuring because it means that most parents are protecting their young children from diseases that can cause widespread and sometimes severe harm,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We recommend vaccinations because they are one of the most effective, safest ways to keep children healthy.”
Medical authorities also have sought to assure parents that the chances of children being harmed by vaccines are remote. Even so, the issue remains contentious in some quarters and, as Reuters reports, some parents have had their children skip immunizations out of fear that vaccines might trigger autism or other health problems.
Last week the Institute of Medicine issued a new report declaring that there is no evidence that immunizations lead to autism. It also said that few other health problems are caused by, or clearly associated, with vaccines.