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20. Hepatitis B Vaccination Coverage

So what explains all of this? Well, the obvious thing is that it is immunization coverage, and in this somewhat complex slide, let me just walk you through the age groups. If you look at children, our immunization coverage now is almost 90%. That is our 2010 goal - that is where we want to be, we think we should be able to get over 90%, but that is a good target, and it looks like we are achieving it. This really isn't a decline - this is just the older-age group. These are the kids born at the time the recommendations were made, in late 90-91. So, we kind of have to catch them here as they come into the adolescent period, and there are a number of school entry laws in various states that are helping us to achieve coverage. So, over all, there is about a 70% coverage in adolescents and in young children. The problem is that these older adolescents, who have missed the health care system , or have missed the immunization system, are going to go forward. Some of them will get caught in college, because some of the colleges now require hepatitis B vaccine for matriculation. But unfortunately, most of them are going to go out into the adult world unprotected. That brings us back to what I have been pointing out, which is we need to vaccinate adults, and we especially need to vaccinate high-risk adults, and again, part of a prevention strategy that hasn't really taken legs yet, in terms of making it happen.