updated 9/16/2010 1:58:02 PM ET 2010-09-16T17:58:02

Health officials say vaccination rates for toddlers remain high, but they are concerned about an overall drop in measles vaccinations.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released a report showing vaccination rates for children ages 19 through 35 months, based in part on a 2009 telephone survey of parents of more than 17,000 children. More than 90 percent received most routine vaccines, and more than 99 percent got at least one.

But the rate for the measles-mumps-rubella combination vaccine dropped from 92 percent in 2008 to 90 percent — a concern, given a recent increase in U.S. measles cases. The rate for the vaccine against whooping cough also was down slightly, but health officials believe getting boosters to teens, adults and people who are around infants is a more important way to attack a recent whooping cough outbreak in California.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Vaccinations 101

  1. Closed captioning of: Vaccinations 101

    >> this morning on today's "daily dose," vaccinations 101. immunations are not just for infants, they are certain shots all members of the family should be getting and the question is when? here to answer your questions is nbc's chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman . good morning to you. you are a pro-opponent of this?

    >> i am. i think this is the greatest break through perhaps in science history and for sure our lifetime. we have saved millions of lives in this country and around the globe. immunizations matter. the idea you could give a shot to prevent a disease that could kill you is extraordinary.

    >> even though many of these diseases we're talking about are rare.

    >> they're rare because this has worked so well. look at this laundry list of diseases we can prevent. we don't talk about polio. smallpox has been eradicated, don't immunize for it anymore. these are preventable diseases a simple shot can take care of. part of the controversy around people pushing back, say, they're rare, why should diet? they' -- do it? they're rare because this has worked. if we don't immunize, the herd of human beings will have their deserves dropped and that can make us vulnerable.

    >> this topic touched a nerve. when we put it out online, we asked our viewers, questions about it. we got a response, anonymous e-mail. babies seem to get a lot of shots in their first month of life, often multiple shots in one visit. is it okay for babies to have so many shots at once?

    >> the answer is yes. let me take you back to utero, to when they get their first shot. they are swimming around in amniotic fluid in the mommy's tummy and it is sterile. from the moment they pop out into the world, that child is colonized with trillions of bacteria and viruss that says to the immune system , wake up, you're here, which means start making anti-bodies to the bad stuff out there. now to the first shot, two months later, there are a multitude of shots and more than ever because we now can prevent diseases. when a mom or a dad looks at that vial and that little shot, remember, the amount of medicine is just a small traction. the rest is water or saltwater, the delivery mechanism to get the rest of the medicine in the body. it sounds like a lot. compared to what a baby is fighting off with toys on the floor and things put in the mouth and bacteria all around, it is minuscule.

    >> some people would like to have them spread over longer periods of time or started a little bit late. what do you think about it?

    >> i don't like it and here's why. i don't care if you're an md or phd or think you're smarter than everybody on earth. here's the downside. it's harder to kype traeep track of stuff, easy to let the next shot fall through the system. the doctors who set this up know this is when these children are most vulnerable to these illnesses and when they can make ant anti-bodies. there is no scientific proof spacing them out is better, but more likely to miss a dose.

    >> darsy is joining us live from skype. what's your question.

    >> hi. i just found out the vaccine is available for girls and boys . i wanted to know if this is true and if boys should get the vaccine.

    >> it is cool. the pv vaccine is to keep women from getting the human papilloma virus , linked to cancer, and certain strains worst than others. we now know this is a vaccine given to women in their preteens, 9 to early 20s. the idea is get the vaccine before you're sexually active and exposed to the viruss. it makes sense if a boy carries the virus and girl gets the virus, why are you just immunizing the girl? now we know it's safe to give both girls and boys .

    >> does the boy benefit?

    >> they do. you can get warts, you can get sexually transmitted warts from the human papilloma virus .

    >> it became controversial?

    >> it was seen as, then my child will be promiscuous. make no doubt about it, this is not a vaccine you give your child to say, now, it's okay to have sex. you give it to your child so when they are sexually active, you don't die because you had sexual activity , 9 to early 20s. once you had multiple sexual partners or late 20s to 30s, this is not an appropriate vaccine.

    >> we have another question from nicole from alabama, and she's on the phone. hello, nicole . what's your question?

    >> caller: [ inaudible ].

    >> i think we might have lost nicole 's signal. we'll try to get her back on line. we have samantha in illinois. she's on the phone. let's see if we can talk to samantha . hey, samantha .

    >> caller: hi.

    >> what's your question?

    >> caller: good morning. my question is, i'm a 19-year-old teenager that works a full time job and goes to college. what shot do i need for this up upcoming year?

    >> i love this question, samantha . first of all, congratulations ongoing to college. remember, it's like going into the army, you are going into the barracks. you are going to be near people who come right up to your face and transmit things. a couple things. now is the time to get your flu shot . i am a big pro -opponeponent get your meningitis vaccine. get those two things. if you haven't had your hpv shot, get it and check your tetanus record.

    >> meningitis is rare but devastating if you get it.

    >> it is rare but for the cost of a price of tennis shoes , your child can save a limb or his or her life. you're right. it is not as common as the other ones. i have seen the devastation on the back end. meningococcal meningitis is a preventable disease.

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