FRIDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Since routine rotavirus vaccination of infants began in February 2006, coverage has steadily increased but still lags behind coverage for other infant vaccines, according to a report published in the May 7 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Researchers from the CDC in Atlanta studied rotavirus coverage trends at eight sentinel sites in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New York City, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
After routine rotavirus vaccination was introduced, the researchers found that coverage with at least one dose among infants aged 5 months at the four continuously serving sentinel sites increased to about 50 to 60 percent within the first year, and then increased at a rate of 2.7 percent per quarter until reaching a rate of 74 percent by the second quarter of 2009. At all eight sites, they found that coverage averaged 72 percent by the second quarter of 2009. However, they also found that the average site-specific coverage for the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was 13 percentage points higher at 85 percent.
"As rotavirus coverage has increased among U.S. children, both the 2007--08 and 2008--09 rotavirus seasons were shorter in duration and diminished in magnitude compared with pre-vaccine seasons," the authors conclude. "Continued efforts to educate parents and providers about the importance of this vaccine could hasten full acceptance and help prevent severe rotavirus disease in as many U.S. children as possible. Continued monitoring of rotavirus coverage will be crucial to provide information useful to policy makers and help focus efforts to achieve rotavirus rates at least as high as other routinely recommended vaccines for U.S. infants."