States where vaccines are required for students to attend middle school have significantly higher rates of teens who are up-to-date with their vaccinations, a new report says.
The findings show that in the states where middle schools required tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations, 80 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 were up-to-date with these vaccines, where as in states where middle schools did not require these vaccines, 70 percent of teens were up-to-date.
"Adolescent vaccination coverage levels are increasing but remain low," the researchers wrote in their article, published today (May 7) in the journal Pediatrics.
Most school vaccination requirements are aimed at children entering kindergarten, but many states have also implemented requirements targeting children entering middle school, the report said.
In the study, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed school entry requirements for the 2008-2009 school year, and compared them with teen vaccination rates for three vaccines: tetanus/diphtheria-containing (Td) or tetanus/diphtheria/acelullar pertussis (TdaP), meningococcal conjugate (which protects against some types of bacterial meningitis), and human papillomavirus (HPV).