Only 76% of children 19-35 months immunized in CT
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the expansion of its childhood vaccination program, which will add three lifesaving immunizations to those available to Connecticut children across the state.
The new program, called the Connecticut Vaccine Program (CVP), expands the state’s current childhood vaccination program by providing required vaccines to all children in Connecticut. With the addition of these three vaccines - pneumococcal conjugate, influenza, and hepatitis A - the state will cover fourteen of the sixteen vaccines currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The program uses a combination of federal and state funds to purchase vaccines obtained through a contract the CDC manages with vaccine manufacturers. The state buys vaccine at the lowest possible price off the federal contract and provides the vaccines at no cost to clinics, private doctors and other health care providers.
While Connecticut has high immunization rates at school entry (99%), only approximately 76% of Connecticut children receive the CDC recommended vaccines they should have received by 3 years of age. That leaves many children at risk for serious vaccine-preventable infection. Rates for the hepatitis A and flu vaccines are much lower for those same children. In fact, Connecticut ranks 30th in the nation for vaccinating children ages 19 months to 35 months, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2010 State Health Facts report.
“The expansion of the state vaccine program will improve access to important immunizations so that children across the state can be vaccinated on time,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Every child has the right to be fully immunized, and we can do better. This expanded program moves us closer to that goal.”
Public Act 12-1 established the CVP. It requires all health care providers who administer vaccines to children under the age of 19 years to obtain the required vaccines through the program. The new state law goes into effect January 1, 2013, and physician practices are currently enrolling in the program. For more information, please visit www.ct.gov/dph/immunizations.