Closing the Vaccination Gap

A Shot in the Arm for Childhood Immunization Programs

August 2004

As National Immunization Month concludes, TFAH joined with Every Child By Two to call for re-energizing efforts to immunize the 20 percent of preschoolers who persistently remain unvaccinated in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an all-time high immunization rate for infants and toddlers in the U.S. earlier this month. However, at least 20 percent of preschoolers have gone unvaccinated every year for the past three decades, leaving 2.1 million children at increased risk of preventable diseases.

TFAH and Every Child By Two today released a new report Closing the Vaccination Gap: A Shot in the Arm for Childhood Immunization Programs, which examined childhood immunization policy in the U.S., reasons for the persistent 20 percent gap of preschoolers who do not receive routine vaccines on time, and actions that have been identified to close this gap.

Currently, the standard childhood immunization programs prevent approximately 10.5 million cases of infectious illnesses and 33,000 deaths each year. Addressing the 20 percent gap of under-vaccinated preschoolers will also greatly improve needed infrastructure to support the entire childhood vaccination program in America.

The report recommendations include:

  • Bolstering America's Immunization Registries
  • Expansion of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program the price caps on a number of vaccines purchased by the federal government.
  • Institution of a Vaccine Insurance Mandate
  • Increased Education and Awareness Measures
  • Provision of Adequate Support to the CDC for the Purchase and Delivery of Vaccines

Executive Summary (123k .pdf)

Complete Report (575k .pdf)

TFAH Release: Former First Ladies and Advocacy Groups Call for Ending the Neglect of 20% of Preschoolers Without Needed Vaccines, as National Immunization Month Concludes

Immunization Conference Call: Listen to August 24th conference call featuring Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter discussing TFAH immunizations report (36 minutes, RealPlayer required)