HealthDay News — Teen immunization rates have been increasing since 2009, meeting national standards for one recommended vaccine and coming close to the goal for another, the CDC reports.

In 2012, 84.6% of those aged 13 through 17 years had received at least one dose of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, the agency reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

This represents a 6.4% percentage point increase since 2011 and exceeds the Healthy People 2020 target of 80% Tdap coverage among this population. Coverage for meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine also increased 3.5 percentage points since 2011 to 74% in 2012.

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However, the proportion of teen girls who have received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine remained steady at 53.8%, and the proportion of those who received all three shots necessary for the vaccine to be effective actually decreased from 34.8% in 2011 to 33.4% in 2012.

Despite lagging rates in girls, the proportion of boys vaccinated with the HPV vaccine has increased substantially, with 20.8% receiving at least one dose and 6.8% receiving all three, up from 8.3% and 1.3%, respectively, in 2011.

The agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices  currently recommends preteens be vaccinated with one dose Tdap, one dose of MenACWY vaccine and three doses of HPV vaccine.

To determine the proportion of U.S. teens who meet these goals CDC investigators examined data from 19,199 adolescents, including 9,058 girls and 10,141 boys collected from parents and guardians as part of the National Immunization Survey–Teen (NIS-Teen).

“Large and increasing coverage differences between Tdap and other vaccines recommended for adolescents show that many opportunities are being missed to vaccinate boys and girls, especially against HPV infection,” the agency wrote.

Survey data also reveal that vaccine coverage varies significantly from state to state. A total of 36 states met or exceeded national Tdap targets and 12 met or exceeded MenACWY targets, but none met the 80% national target for HPV vaccination among females.

Tdap coverage ranged from a low of 53.5% in Mississippi to a high of 96.3% in New Hampshire, whereas MenACWY vaccination rates ranged from 37.5% in Arkansas to 94.3% in Rhode Island. The state also performed on the best on measures of HPV vaccine coverage, with 57.7% of Rhode Island girls and 17.7% of boys receiving all three doses.

“Achieving high vaccination coverage among adolescents is feasible, and progress is evident for most vaccines,” the researchers concluded.

NIS-Teen limitations included the fact that only about half of respondents had their vaccination status confirmed from provider-verified immunization data.


  1. CDC. “National and state vacination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 Years — United States, 2012.” MMWR. 2013; 62: 685-693.