Adolescent Vaccines

The percent of adolescents who have received routinely recommended vaccines increased from 2007 to 2008.  Changes in vaccine policy, recent experiences with outbreaks or efforts to remove cost as a barrier can improve adolescent vaccination rates in states.


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The percent of adolescents who have received routinely recommended vaccines increased from 2007 to 2008.

  • For the first time, the Healthy People 2010 goal of 90 percent immunization rates for adolescents ages 13 to 15 was met for measles, mumps and rubella, commonly called MMR vaccines, and Hepatitis B.
  • Immunization rates for the new human papillomavirus vaccine (commonly known as HPV)
    also increased by 12 percent from 2007 to 2008.
  • There were significant differences among states and by race, ethnicity and poverty status.
  • At least 50 percent of adolescents in Arizona, New Hampshire and New York received all three routinely recommended vaccines.

    • The lowest immunization rates for the three routinely recommended vaccines were in Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia.
    • The lowest immunization rates for the HPV vaccine were in Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina.
    • Compared with whites, immunization rates were lower among African-Americans for varicella (commonly known as chickenpox), at 87.9 percent versus 93.7 percent.
    • Compared with whites, immunization rates were higher among American Indian/Alaskan Natives for measles, mumps and rubella, at 93.9 percent versus 89.9 percent.
    • Immunization rates were higher among Hispanics than whites for HPV.
    • Immunization rates for the HPV vaccine were higher for adolescents living below the poverty level than for those living at or above the poverty level.

Changes in vaccine policy, recent experiences with outbreaks or efforts to remove cost as a barrier can improve adolescent vaccination rates in states.

  • Colorado, which ranked fifth in the country for whooping cough, implemented a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine (Tdap in the chart) requirement for sixth and 10th grade students during the 2007–2008 school year.
  • In 2007, 22 states had a requirement for a vaccine containing tetanus for entry into middle
    school; no states had a requirement for the meningitis or HPV vaccine.
  • Insurance companies in New Hampshire contributed funds for state purchase of vaccines, which allowed universal coverage of HPV for females ages 11 to 18.
  • Because HPV is the most expensive vaccine recommended for adolescents, it is widely available through the Vaccines for Children program for the uninsured, Medicaid-eligible and American Indian/Alaskan Natives. Barriers to access have been reported among private insurers.

Several strategies improve vaccine coverage among adolescents, including:

  • Client and provider reminders that vaccinations are due;
  • Vaccination requirements for school entry;
  • Reduction of out-of-pocket costs for families for vaccinations;
  • Increased access in health care settings by increasing hours of availability and providing vaccines in clinical settings in which they were not previously provided; and
  • Assessment and feedback to vaccine providers by public health departments.

  Download the Excel Version of the Table:  "Estimated Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents , Aged 13-17"

Source: “National, State, and Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13–17 Years—United States, 2008,” September 18, 2009, 58(36); 997–1001