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Why Teens are Still Behind on Recommended Vaccines

3/18/2013 For Release: March 18, 2013
 

Despite the fact that vaccines have been found to be a safe and effective protection against a number of vaccine-preventable adolescent diseases, many teens are still not receiving recommended vaccinations. In the study “Reasons for Not Vaccinating Adolescents: National Survey of Teens, 2008-2010,” in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 18), study authors analyzed the 2008-2010 National Immunization Survey of Teens to determine why parents did not have their teens up-to-date on recommended adolescent vaccines, and how these reasons have changed over the years. Parents of teens who were not vaccinated for tetanus toxoid, diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis/tetanus toxoid and reduced diphtheria toxoid and quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine all gave similar reasons, including “not recommended,” and “not necessary.” These reasons remained consistent over the years for Tdap/Td and MCV4. The main reasons parents did not get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine for their daughters included the same as those for the other vaccines, and also included “not sexually active,” “not appropriate age” and “safety concerns/side effects.” Concerns about safety grew each year, from 4.5 percent in 2008 to 16.4 percent in 2010. Parents’ intent not to vaccinate for HPV also increased from 39.8 percent in 2008 to 43.9 percent in 2010. Study authors conclude that despite physician recommendations, parents refusing to immunize their teens against vaccine-preventable diseases like HPV is concerning, and may require more detailed discussion about vaccine safety and effectiveness in order to improve future immunization rates.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Paul Darden has been a consultant and served on an advisory board for Pfizer, Inc., in the past three years. Co-author Dr. Robert M. Jacobson has served in the past three years as a principal investigator for two multicenter vaccine studies funded by Pfizer, as well as one funded by Novartis. He currently serves as a member of a safety review committee for one vaccine study and well as a member of a data and safety monitoring board for two other vaccine studies, all funded by Merck. 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.


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