HEALTH AGENCY RECOMMENDS INCREASED NUMBER OF VACCINES FOR CHILDREN, TEENS
August 4, 2006
The growing list of childhood vaccinations reads like alphabet soup: Hib, HepA, HepB, IPV, PCV, MCV4, DTaP, Tdap, varicella and influenza.
Parents dragging their kids to the doctor's office for those required school shots can expect to hear about more vaccines and, if they're uninsured, new expenses:
- Twenty years ago, it cost $75 to $100 to immunize a child with the four available vaccines; today, 12 shots are generally recommended for kids and adolescents, which total about $1,250.
- And the government is expected to recommend a 13th vaccine for girls -- a shot that protects against cervical cancer; it costs about $360 for the three-dose series, potentially raising the per-child vaccination bill to more than $1,600.
"The good news is we can now prevent so many diseases. The bad news is it's gotten more complicated," says Ann Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC.
Although vaccinations are routinely covered by health insurance, some worry that government funding for shots for the poor and uninsured will not keep up with demand.
Another challenge: Outbreaks of mumps, whooping cough and other vaccine-preventable infections have shown that sometimes immunized people can still catch the disease. So more booster shots are needed.
Source: Mike Stobbe, "Schools requiring more vaccines," Associated Press/Chicago Tribune, August 1, 2006.
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